I'm preaching on Sunday. It's Lent Event weekend at All Saints Church and we have the fabulous Richard Rohr with us for 9:00 & 11:15 ... as well as the Forum and evening presentations on Sunday & Monday ... and so it fell to me to preach to the faithful early morning remnant who will gather at 7:30 a.m. in the chapel for the said service that starts off our Sunday. And so, of course, I've been mulling the Gospel Appointed for the 5th Sunday in Lent (John 12:20-33):
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.And then I'll say "The Gospel of the Lord" and what I'll be thinking is "But what about the Greeks?" I'll be wondering what happened to the Greeks who showed up at the beginning of the gospel saying "Sir, we wish to see Jesus" and set off the from Philip to Andrew to Jesus chain of events that ended up with Jesus going into this poetic and prophetic musing on what it means to be glorified and "indicating the kind of death he was to die."
Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
"Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say --`Father, save me from this hour'? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again." The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him." Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.
We never find out what happened to the Greeks. (I read ahead in the 12th Chapter of John to check on that and the pericope ends with "When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.") So I'm left wondering: Did they get to see Jesus? Were they in crowd when Jesus offered this long explanation of what his death was going to be about ... and if so did they "get it" ... or did they leave wondering what the deal was ... feeling as if they came in late in the second act and not sure what the plot line was all about.
And ... I find myself wondering this morning ... do we do that today? Do we have folks who come to us saying "Sir/Madam ... we wish to see Jesus!" ... and do they get to? Or do they get an explanation of a doctrine that's out of context and therefore wander off wondering what it was all about. This Jesus stuff. This Christian thing. This Good News.
I wish John had told us what happened next with them. I hope the Greeks got to see Jesus ... and I pray that we might be given the grace to make sure that whoever "the Greeks" are coming toward us get to see the Jesus of love, justice and compassion who leads us not only through these 40 days of Lent but onward to Easter.