No seeds, no matter the quality, grow without weeds. The sowing is a picture of extravagant practice, of wide sweeping support, of patient, quiet listening for the promised sprouting.
greek - John In what way does the grain of wheat die? - Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange
It isn't that this Gospel gives one kernel we can know for sure will be what our friends need to hear. It gives us, sows us, each of us and all of us, to a casting to the wind, a planting in the parched, that we might be fruitful. Morrie, the consummate professor diagnosed with ALS, decides since his vocation is to be a teacher, he'll now teach people how to die. Mitch, a student from sixteen years before, renews their friendship and records his wise teaching. Morrie connects our capacity to experience fully with our ability to let go.
He says most of the time we only start to experience something, then we encounter risk or pain or the fear of risk and pain, so we pull back. Morrie tells his student, "Feel it fully and then let it go. In echoes of a Gospel that call us to die that we might live, to let go that we might be fruitful, Morrie claims the best news of all: that this awareness, this fullness of experience and freedom in letting go is not about dying well, it's about living well. I'd like to tell you of a time I believe I saw it happen.
Annette's death was the first time I had the privilege of attending and attempting to minister at the death of someone my own age. The hospital had calledI suppose about two o'clock in the morning. She died around three. Her family had had a few days warning, so relatives had gathered. I drove her young husband home Each of them embraced him, expressed their sorrow and then in a litany more reliable than a hymnal has ever accomplished said, "I'll make some coffee. But how is it that those who love their lives will lose them?
What does it mean to say that whoever hates his life in this world will gain eternal life?
We know, of course, that Jesus did not condone hatred of family or strangers. Rather, by using a common form of Semitic rhetoric, he brought into bold relief the two possible options: either put Jesus first, where he belongs, or put him somewhere else. It is never wrong to love our family, but it is wrong to put our families or ourselves before Jesus and the things of God. The man who loves his life in this world is a man who puts more sweat, tears, and time into this world than he does into the kingdom of God.
If we live as though this passing, temporal world is our highest priority, it necessarily means that we have placed something that is good, because it is from God, above the greatest Good, which in turn pits that good thing against God. Some might argue—as many critics of Christianity do—that such thinking forms people who are so heavenly-minded they are of no earthly good. In reality, the Christian who is oriented toward his final destination and who lives with the hope of heaven is of the greatest earthly good, for he rightly perceives the place and value of this world.
After all, no man has ever been more heavenly-minded than Jesus Christ, and no man has ever done more earthly good than Jesus Christ.
Meanwhile, human history is marked with the tragic and bloody remains of those destroyed by men who were so earthly-minded that they were of no heavenly or earthly good. And then, through the wisdom of God, it serves for our use when, after receiving the Word of God, it becomes the Eucharist, which is the body and blood of Christ. In the same way our bodies, being nourished by it, and deposited in the earth and suffering decomposition there, shall rise at their appointed time.
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Because of the way it tortured and killed, it stripped a person of their culture and identity, showing that they had been overcome, overpowered, conquered by Rome. The person being executed was no longer a citizen and was considered cursed of God. Thus to identify with someone on a cross was to identify with someone robbed of identity.
When Jesus was crucified, he was stripped of his identity. He took the weight of us all on his shoulders, and in doing so, he became every single one of us. There were no identity markers that limited or blocked his connection with the world. In his death, he unified us all. Body and blood, broken and poured for the repair of the world. His way of conquering was not raising a flag of allegiance, choosing sides, deciding who was in or out and crushing those who were out. In his death - broken body and spilled blood - he boldly, vulnerably, and courageously declared our common union.
He shed his identity and authority to share in our pain and humanity.
Compare Translations for John 12:24
He mixed it into himself, transcendently becoming one with us all, across space and time. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is, destroys that life.
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