Saturday, 21 March 2015

In the stillness of waiting

John 12:20-33 

Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. These approached Philip, who came from Bethsaida in Galilee, and put this request to him, ‘Sir, we should like to see Jesus.’ Philip went to tell Andrew, and Andrew and Philip together went to tell Jesus. Jesus replied to them:
‘Now the hour has come
for the Son of Man to be glorified.
I tell you, most solemnly,
unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies,
it remains only a single grain;
but if it dies,
it yields a rich harvest.
Anyone who loves his life loses it;
anyone who hates his life in this world
will keep it for the eternal life.
If a man serves me, he must follow me,
wherever I am, my servant will be there too.
If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.
Now my soul is troubled.
What shall I say:
Father, save me from this hour?
But it was for this very reason that I have come to this hour.
Father, glorify your name!’
A voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ People standing by, who heard this, said it was a clap of thunder; others said, ‘It was an angel speaking to him.’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not for my sake that this voice came, but for yours.
‘Now sentence is being passed on this world;
now the prince of this world is to be overthrown.
And when I am lifted up from the earth,
I shall draw all men to myself.’
By these words he indicated the kind of death he would die.

This Friday past was, as a young boy exclaimed on the radio, the best day of our lives. 

In truth it was a pretty 'best day', as the northern hemisphere witnessed one of the few total solar eclipses of the century. That young man will possibly have his own son on his shoulders at the time of the next one in 2026. 

Incredible how this prophesied event could tempt so many away from their Friday morning usuality. Thousands of schoolchildren took their lessons outside, squinting through special spectacles, creating pin hole cameras, and measuring the temperature of shadows. Thousands of workers risked the bosses ire by wandering towards the windows or 'needing' to go outside just at the right time, risking their phone cameras for the perfect shot. Hundreds of thousands woke with a sigh that the sky was clouded and then sighed as the drop in temperature brought about a 'reveal' of the Sun's crooked smile or even less. 

Thousands gathered at Stonehenge and other ancient sites to acknowledge the ancient understanding of the world's place in the universe, eagerly sacrificing their cynical minds for the wonder of the moment. A scientist commentating moment by moment on the Radio, went as silent as the surrounding birdsong at the climax of the event, then admitted that the scene had affected her more emotionally than she would ever have expected. 

Perhaps the ancients had it right after all. The death of a Sun is not something to be taken lightly. And even knowing that it is for no more than a degree or two in the the Earth's turning, is it not a moment worthy of witness? 

For that one moment we experience the physical separation from the Sun, from light and heat. For the one moment of withdrawal we are reminded of our fragility. Jesus' words ignite a fear of loss held so lightly below the surface of our certainty.

Life is a crystalline reality, easily broken, easily formed into something else. Death is part of that reforming. Creation needs all its little deaths in order to make things new. Even fossilised life becomes a power source or a foundation for the future. 

We despair of our poor choices, mistakes and disappointments , marking all of them as little deaths. It is the waiting in the eerie dusk of the eclipse, when hope is turned blind by failure, that it is so easy to give up. Take heart then, that with just a turning or two, there will be new life, a new beginning. 

Maybe,  even, the 'best day' of our lives. 



Barbara In Caneyhead said...

I love the way you overlapped the two events. The death of the sun would be the death of our lives, our planet. But the death of the Son brings eternal life and the forgiveness of sins. Nothing that happens on this planet can change that!! And for that I am eternally grateful.

Lynda said...

Very inspiring. Thank you!

Gelli Ma said...

Thank you both :)