Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Mar 07, 2013 | Comments (0)

Fifth Sunday in Lent: You Will Not Always Have Me

Bottom Line Spirituality: Worldly and Godly Thinking

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for The Fifth Sunday in Lent

Godly Abiding Spiritually in Jesus Changes the Meaning of What we See Worldly When Not Abiding in Jesus.

Spirituality is our innate ability to feel the difference worldly or godly thinking makes to the way scripture translates to our daily life and relationships.

John 12:1-8 “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.”

There are some lessons that are too difficult to understand in worldly language. You have to have been spiritually through them. There is no way I could understand this lesson until I had been through it. My experience was after the Viet Nam war. There were thousands of refugees trying to escape the communist persecution. 

One day, two Vietnamese came in to my church office. They said they were sponsored by another church. Their church could not afford to sponsor their families, wives and children. We volunteered to do so. There were ten to be picked up at the airport. A car was sent and they were picked up. When they arrived at the home we realized it was not their people. We then had to go back and pick up another ten. After that there were more relatives and friends. We finally, as a church sponsored some sixty-five refuges.

It was quite an undertaking. Our committee of twelve people was pushed to the limits. There were doctor’s appointments, registrations at welfare, shopping and needs of many other kinds like clothes, food, and appliances. There came a time when our small group was pushed to the limit. I noticed they were getting crusty with each other about what had to be done. If we continued getting more worn out there would be nothing left of our committee to do ministry.

I called for a time out. The point was, whatever these people had been through it was far bigger than anything they were going through here in the States. We are talking prison camps, escapes where a mother had her child bayoneted in front of her as she was pulled into the boat, boats that were broken in half by huge waves, a large group on a small boat with no rudder, no oars or drinking water. They knew the power of God and the miracles that come out of pure desperation. They were survivors. 

We would take a week off to care for ourselves and our group. The survivors would take care of themselves. The time out worked for us and things worked out for them as well. We still had a committee to do ministry.

It was at that moment I realized what Jesus was telling His Apostles. This was their last week with Him before His death, Judas was upset because they were wasting money on expensive oil and not giving it to the poor. The other apostles did not seem to stand up for the women. In their minds, they agreed with Judas, “What a waste of money.” They thought they were just passing time to get ready for another day with the usual healings, sermons to be preached and large crowds to handle. After all, it was Passover Week when crowds came to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.

The woman was the only one who realized He was about to die. She was anointing Him for his burial. The other apostles were taking it for granted He would be with them for a long time. They had a hard time accepting the death of their Messiah. This woman was telling them to wake up and smell the coffee. It is time to be with this Man because He would not be with them for long. You do not always have Me. You do not always have time to take care of the things you care the most about, like your family, when you become too involved in your ministry.

His words are for us today. There is a time right now for us to take care of ourselves. The poor we have with us always. If we do not take care of ourselves and those we love, there will be no one who can take care of our ministry.

This is true for the World Wide Anglican Communion as well. We need to take care of our Church if we are to be able to do the outreach ministry we are called to do.

On March 21st, Justin Portal Welby will be enthroned as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury. This is very exciting. We have a person who after an eleven year career as treasurer for an Oil Company resigned his $100,000 a year job to enter the priesthood. A major influence in their lives was when he and his wife attended the Alpha series. The study is open to all, both in and out of the Church. It starts off the ten week course with lesson one, “Who is Jesus?” Ten lessons later, there is a weekend on “Who is the Holy Spirit?”  “What does the Holy Spirit do?”  “How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?” “How can I make the most of the rest of my life?”

This is significant because, if anything is going to go through the Episcopal Church, it has to start with the Bishops and run through the rectors of the parishes. The World Wide Anglican Communion will now have a champion for renewal who wants to teach people how to experience the Presence of the Spirit of Jesus in their lives. It may take time to get through to the Bishops of other countries, but here is where it must start and is starting, at the top. If you are asking “Is there more to life than this?” you can start by looking the course up on the internet, bring it to your church and join the revolution. 

Philippians 3:4-14 Whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ.

Spirituality can change our life when we compare what difference it makes when we are out or when we are in and consciously feel His Presence.

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