Thursday, February 14, 2008

Old Dogs - New Tricks

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you." (Genesis 12:1)

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night... (John 3:1-2)

In both of these two readings for the Second Sunday in Lent, we find old dogs beingn invited to learn new tricks. Abram, whose body Paul later called "as good as dead" (Romans 4:19), packs up and heads out for an unknown land, trusting the One who called him. Nicodemus, who must have been old enough to be a leader in the Jewish community, is invited to consider the possibility of being born anew, born from above, born of the Spirit.

I am reminded of two stories, one factual, but both true.

Some years ago a Baptist minister found himself dreading clergy gatherings. He would go to a meeting and hear the succcess stories of colleagues and return home depressed. One day a minor revelation came to him and he began to see clergy meetings through what I would call an Abraham lens - if God was working miracles in that man's church, God could certainly work miracles in mine!

An older parishioner once told his priest that his life's work was finished. The priest replied, "If you're still alive, God still has work for you to do."

It is never too late for us to respond to God's call to go to an unknown country, to move out of our comfort zones and to experience a new birth.

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