Thursday, January 9, 2014

judging to allow life

Good evening sisters and brothers,
I want to start by extending a special invitation to worship on Sunday. We'll supplement our wonderful choir with an additional lovely voice and with two solo offerings by guest soloist, Madeline Cain. Madeline is in the final semester of her opera performance masters program at the University of Maryland.  She serves as a soloist and section-leader at Emmanuel Church in Alexandria, VA throughout the school year. From the little bit I heard of Madeline's voice at rehearsal on Wednesday, you're in for a treat. 

Our reading today is the "judgy" part of our passage. Jesus says that God has given the power and responsibility to judge all people (like the creed says, the living and the dead). We often think of judgment as bad or scary. This passage, and the healing story we read the last two days as its context, remind us that Jesus judges in order to bring life. Human pride, selfishness and rules (in this case, rigid religious rules) often get in the way of the just, peaceful life God intends. God's judgment stops human evil to allow true flourishing.

God bless,

John 5:19-29
19Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.20The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished.21Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomever he wishes. 

22The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, 23so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life. 

25“Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; 27and he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.28Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. 

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