– Tuesday of the 5th Week of Lent –
Then the Jews said, ‘Is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, “Where I am going, you cannot come?” He said to them, ‘You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.’ [John 8:22-24]
We find in this reading the ongoing conundrum facing those who experience Jesus: recognising who he is and yet still not having a clue. We need to acknowledge that the scribes and Pharisees are not the only ones who have this problem: so do we. We need to keep the question of who Jesus is always before us.
When it comes to our relationship with God, the questions that arise are often more productive than the answers at which we arrive. This is because it does not matter how intelligent, spiritually experienced, or even how holy we are; if we believe we fully understand God and God’s ways, there is only one thing that is certain: we are mistaken.
I imagine God to be a vast ocean, limitless in capacity and containing all manner of unknown wonders. I picture my experience and understanding of God as being like a little glass of water drawn from that ocean. I look at my glass and say, ‘this is the ocean’ and then realise how ridiculous I am being. God is to my understanding as the ocean is to the contents of the glass. For this reason, I need you, and together, we need the body of Christ, of which we are part. Even to begin to understand God, I must listen to you and your experience, and you must listen to me and mine. Together we must reflect on the teaching and experience of our spiritual teachers and holy ones – both living and dead. Our question, ‘who is God?’ drives us forward to listen to one another.
By Shane Dwyer