This weekend we will be entering into the fifth Sunday in the Lenten Season. During this particular lectionary year that means that we will be encountering Jesus saying some very important, and yet deeply troubling things to his disciples in the final week of his life. In this case, we will be in the gospel of John, which always has its own little twist. Nevertheless, the lessons it bears are worth the hearing for all of us.

The question we will examine is sacrifice.

Such a word. So many definitions, from the mundane and simple to the complex and paradoxical. What does it mean? For Christ? For Us? For our relationships with one another?

Jesus speaks about being lifted up. And yes, he is speaking about the cross. Yet, he has spent his life lifting up so many different people. Sometimes from their diseases. Sometimes from death. Sometimes so that the world might know how we might love one another better.

At the heart of the matter for this weekend, and in the Holy Week that will follow, is this: what do we lift up most in our life?

Is it how we love others? Give for others, to others, with others? Willingly bless, even if no one is watching? Lift others up so that they might shine in the sun?

Or do we live for ourselves? Make a show of our piety and sacrifices for other’s “benefit”? Do we turn our faces, eyes, ears, and hearts away from those who are hurting in this world? Do we hide in the shadows, letting only what we want to be seen?

The time is surely coming when we will watch our Lord be lifted up again – something for which we are wholly responsible. And though we are forgiven, even for this, and loved more than we can possibly imagine, Christ still looks at us with this question: what will you do with this life I have bought for you?

Blessings, Pastor Janie

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