Monday, 4 April 2011

Conviction


GospelJohn 4:43-54 


Jesus left Samaria for Galilee. He himself had declared that there is no respect for a prophet in his own country, but on his arrival the Galileans received him well, having seen all that he had done at Jerusalem during the festival which they too had attended.
  He went again to Cana in Galilee, where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a court official there whose son was ill at Capernaum and, hearing that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judaea, he went and asked him to come and cure his son as he was at the point of death. Jesus said, ‘So you will not believe unless you see signs and portents!’ ‘Sir,’ answered the official ‘come down before my child dies.’ ‘Go home,’ said Jesus ‘your son will live.’ The man believed what Jesus had said and started on his way; and while he was still on the journey back his servants met him with the news that his boy was alive. He asked them when the boy had begun to recover. ‘The fever left him yesterday’ they said ‘at the seventh hour.’ The father realised that this was exactly the time when Jesus had said, ‘Your son will live’; and he and all his household believed.
  This was the second sign given by Jesus, on his return from Judaea to Galilee.


con·vic·tion 
n.
1. Law
a. The judgment of a jury or judge that a person is guilty of a crime as charged.
b. The state of being found or proved guilty:
2.
a. The act or process of convincing.
b. The state of being convinced
3. A fixed or strong belief. 


Conviction is based on evidence - for those who do not believe there will never be enough -signs, portents or otherwise - for those who do believe - a word.

Generally I try to walk through Lent trying to forget where it is I am going. The benefit of hindsight jusitifies or lessens much of what is going on now. The odd thing about the spiritual life though is that, quite often. the journey you are planning to take is not the one God is thinking of.

Jesus seems to find himself on similar paths. After his inspiring encounter with the Samaritan woman and her village you wonder why he would come back to the Galilee. After all, last time he was here he was just 'Mary's son'. But now he is justified by the healings and miracles that have been witnessed in Jerusalem -he has made good in the big city. John doesn't say that Jesus performed any miracles -  maybe his reputation was enough but it  seems that Jesus is expecting to be asked to prove himself again in his conversation with the court official.

Which is a problem with success - in a fickle world you are judged to be only as good as your last show. Fear of failure; of rejection; of not being good enough is enough to stop you even starting. If you believe it is all about you.

Jesus knows it is not all about him- he knows he is still Mary's son; he is not comfortable with the challenge to prove himself- he is no magician.  But he is his Father's son  and when he is asked in 'good faith' how can he refuse? A heartfelt prayer has more power than the need for conviction.  Jesus says it more than once and to anyone who will listen - it is your faith that saves you.

Standing up for what you believe is important but it has many levels; the epiphany of faith when you first really get it;  the isolation of feeling you are the only one who does get it; the justification of bringing other people along with you; the danger of developing a reputation and, hopefully,  the realisation that in all of this 'you' are the least of all.

wordinthehand2011




1 comment:

Philomena Ewing said...

The last paragraph is mind blowing and full of thoughts that hit deep. Wonderful and Many thanks
Blessings