Meditation written by Cathy Tamsberg.
Read by Kevin Neiley.
The ocean feels friendly when it’s calm, but can be quite frightening when it’s not, as names like Fran, Floyd, and Sandy remind us. Water out of control can be devastating. I think that’s true in our lives as well, which is why we humans have such a strong desire for control. Certainly some of us have higher control needs than others. At some level, however, we all find it frustrating for things that impact our lives to be happening around us over which we have little or no control. And yet it seems that we live in a culture that places little value on self-control. The “letting it all hang out” of the ‘60s has morphed into a privacy-less world where people share the most intimate details of their lives with the world via social media. These days many people view rules and boundaries regarding everything from sex to taxes as restrictions on personal freedom.
Today’s lectionary text tells the story of Greeks who wished to see Jesus. (John 12:20-36) His compelling reply explains that some sacrifice is required for one to follow him: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if dies, it bears much fruit.” (v. 24) This deep level of self-giving seems to require a willingness to admit that we are not in control of anything beyond ourselves. Just as we can’t control a Hurricane Sandy, we also can’t control the behavior of those closest to us. What we do have control of is how we respond to those things that are beyond our influence. All wisdom teachers have told us this, but it may be one of life’s most difficult lessons to learn.
During this Holy Week as we move with Jesus and his friends from a parade to an execution, ponder where you might need to give up an urgency to have control and where you might sacrifice a bit of yourself in order to “bear fruit.”
This meditation is from “Lent: Sowing Season, Holy Time,” a collection of daily readings by Associate Pastor Cathy Tamsberg. Each day during Lent, from Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2013, to Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013, a new excerpt read by a member of the Pullen congregation will be made available. To hear each day’s reading as it is published, subscribe to Pullen’s RSS feed, or listen to the podcast in iTunes.