This Lent, my church (St. Paul’s Episcopal) is doing a collection of Lenten reflections written by members of the church, one for each day of the season:
So far, I have really enjoyed reading them, and learning more about churchgoers I don’t know as well. February 20th was my day, so I will post my reflection here, slightly altered:
“Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without
being born from above.” —-John 3:3
When I first read the verse that I was assigned, I honestly groaned a little. The term “born again,” in my mind has been twisted, turned, used for ammunition, to separate, and to make people feel guilty. What does it mean to be “born again” anyway? I was sure that I was going to pick another, easier verse. Maybe a nice Psalm or something.
But as I was driving home from work the next day, I noticed a man in my neighborhood who is often standing on one of the street corners. He often blares Gospel music and holds a big sign, “Ye must be born again.” He smiles and waves at the passing cars, day in and day out on some street corner in Harrisburg. I’ve seen him at least 4 times in the past week, in 4 different places.
And it made me think. Maybe this verse, which has grown musty and old in my mind, deserves another look. This man believes in this message enough to stand on every street corner, in the freezing cold and in the hottest days of summer. It made me think about what it means to be, as my Bible translation says, “born from above.” Born again. Reborn. Renewed. Transformed. Jesus tells Nicodemus, “You must be born of water and the Spirit.” We are called to be in the present moment, here on earth, and yet with a focus on heavenly things. Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of God is here, but if we are not attentive to the Spirit, we will miss it. Being “born from above” is not a one time, snap decision. It is a call to be alive, to be open to the Spirit at all times and in all places. We, as Christians, are to be walking and living in the Spirit, listening to God’s voice and becoming aware of the Spirit’s presence in ourselves and in those around us.