21155 College BLVD
Olathe, KS 66061

Sunday, May 26, 2024 -The Holy Trinity

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Our Amazing Life through Fearsome Death

Holy. Glory. These words in the first reading and psalm testify to awe at God’s transcendent sovereignty, fearsome majesty, and infinite mystery. No mortal can see God’s face or hear God’s voice and live. The fear expressed in these readings is personal—a living mortal in awe of the living God. In our age, awe at transcendent mystery tends toward the impersonal—at the invisibly small (in physics, quarks and strings) and the unimaginably large (space and time). Does anyone in our age still cultivate the fear of an unmanageable transcendent God, or is the notion too connected to images of a heavenly bully to be useful? Besides, Paul and Jesus each offer a picture of God’s immanence. Paul invites us to revel in God’s approachability, affirming that we can cry, “Abba! Father!” Jesus proclaims the most famous Bible verse of all, telling of God’s great love and desire to save.

But both Jesus and Paul testify that any presumption of easy friendship and comfortable intimacy with the triune God is as out of place now as ever. The immanent God is still the transcendent God! And it is still true: no mortal can see God’s face or hear God’s voice and live—even if the face and voice belong to Jesus through the Holy Spirit. The life God desires for us is accomplished through Jesus’ death—and through our own through baptism. Those deaths are as utterly terrifying as death always is, but with this grace: the death leads to our holy birth from above into a life where “we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him” (Rom. 8:17).

Gospel: John 3:1-17

Jesus’ miracles prompt Nicodemus to visit him in secrecy. Jesus tells him about being born of the Spirit and about the Son who has been sent by God to save.

1Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
11“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”