“Now among those who went up to worship and the festival were some Greeks.” They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”
Some outsiders, some non-Jews, come wanting to see and speak with Jesus and they are treated with suspicion, or at the very least uncertainty by Philip. Philip, the insider, from Bethsaida, in Galilee – John contrasts the two. Philip goes to Andrew instead of going directly to Jesus. Together they go to Jesus, and he begins to talk about several things…his coming death, the glorification of God’s name, and how all people would know him. A conversation with the Greeks is not recorded in John, but the story comes back to them in this statement… “when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.”
“He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.” He was to die the kind of death that comes from a life lived passionately…passionately in love with humanity, in love with God and in love with the earth. He speaks of a future hope…a future in what all people will know and be known by God. Greeks will no longer have to ask but will already know Jesus.
The theme for our Lenten worship series is reflected in the Hebrew Scripture for today. It is talking about a ‘day that is surely coming’ when all people shall know God, from the least to the greatest. This text, represents God’s passionate love for humanity as well as the future hope and assurance that all will be known by God.
I’ve been thinking about the idea of knowing and being known. There are all kinds of ways of knowing something or someone, and I made three categories: Knowing as seeing , knowing as understanding and knowing as being . Each is progressively a more intimate kind of knowing.
There are all manor of things to know about in the world…and more all the time. It seems to be true that the more we know about the less we know. What is fast becoming an example of the this is how clogged out heads have become with the widely accessible information via internet and cable, ability to easily communicate with one another in many ways.
Knowledge is less specific – more broad. Good things…exposed to culture, aware of world, more tolerant, less fearfull of different and new.
Study on Youth and religion: Moralistic therapeutic Deism.. Helps me do go, helps me feels good, God is in the wallpaper. ie. teens not opposed to religion, it doesn’t matter that much. teens mirror religious faith of parents overwhelmingly – echoes basic religion of parents. Mostly inconsequential. Primary goal of religion is to get along. Have information available about all religions – all good, not one better than the other – can choose what’s useful. Unable to articulate specifics even about ones own faith beliefs.
KCD – One of factors that was significant in forming the minority of teens who do have a developed sense of the importance of their religious conviction – A creed to believe. A language that is personal and powerful, verbal and nonverbal, spoken in a community of faith.
Then there’s the level of knowing as understanding. I think of this as ‘getting it’. So and so really ‘gets me’ or ‘I knew all along, but now I really get it’. From hearing the language to being able to articulate and speak in full sentences.
Knowing as being. Again I thought of Narnia. In The Silver Chair one of my favourites of the Narnia series, Jill and Eustace are sent into Narnia to rescue a prince, but before the go, Aslan tells Jill 5 signs that she needs to know in order to fulfill their task. He tells her the signs and asks her, do you know them? She says yes but is unable to repeat them back. Aslan makes her say them over and over to him until she knows the signs perfectly and can say them back to him effortlessly. What Aslan wants is for Jill to know the signs so well that even when things are not what they appear, even when the unexpected happens, Jill will recognize the signs because they are internal. Jill is learning the signs by heart. She is instructed by Aslan to repeat the signs when she wakes up in the morning, when she goes to bed at night and at any time when she is uncertain or feels lost. Knowing and reacting to them dictate her actions.
Deuteronomy 6:6f from the message:
6 Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you 7 and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. 8 Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; 9 inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.
Some orthodox Jews actually do this – put the commandments in phylacteries – small boxes – tie to arms, foreheads, door posts – a reminder.
Again from Jeremiah 31…But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God and they shall be my people. No longer shall hey teach one another, or say to each other, ‘know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, I will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more.
coming to a time when we won’t have to teach, won’t have to ask – the time is not yet here. And yet part of our language in the creed we speak to each other, the stories we tell, is nonverbal –
It was part of this text that was in the bulletin as an option for people to learn by heart…to internalize the reality of God’s invitation into intimate knowledge. God loves us passionately. Who else would care so much as to covenant with us. Contracts are for business, covenants are for relationships. Jesus’ word was that when he is lifted up from the earth, all people will be drawn to himself. We are living in Lent, but with the knowledge that not only death but also resurrection are ahead – so close now that we can see them. The covenant that we are anticipate is here and almost here.
Another of KCD’s community – hope to hold on to – ‘the day is coming’ – I don’t have words to name properly – hard to articulate unknown – hope is in JC – hope in God – trust Spirit to move me –
Call – to live and speak ourselves into being – into being known and knowing God intimately – the God who love us passionately – shown in JC.