Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B
Jeremiah 31:31-34 † Psalm 119:9-16 † Hebrews 5:5-10 † John 12:20-33
A video version of this sermon can be found here.
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. Here is the crux, the turning point of John’s gospel. It marks the major turn in the structure of the book. The hour has indeed come, even though we are only halfway through the gospel. “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.”[i] We should not miss this. And if we do not understand, we are wise to listen and open ourselves to it until we do.
To accentuate the point, we hear not only the voice of Jesus, but the voice of heaven affirm it. In the other gospels—in Matthew, Mark, and Luke—the voice of God is also heard, but at Jesus’ baptism. In John, it is heard here and here only. “I have glorified it—God’s name, that is—and I will glorify it again.”
Why here? And what does it mean? This is a strange affirmation to a strange fruit.
Perhaps it seems counterintuitive to believe that death breeds life. We do know, though, the truth of this text so central to our Christian faith. We have seen again and again the power of self-giving and sacrifice. Martyrs through history have given themselves so that life would change for the many.
Isiah 55:1-5 † Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21 † Romans 9:1-5 † Matthew 14:13-21
Eric Law, the episcopal priest tells the story of his childhood table. It was always full—family, friends, travelers. Twelve or more was not unusual. Dinners were stuffed with stories and laughter.
As you might imagine, as a kid, seeing this table, Law just assumed they were rich. As he grew older, he discovered this was not the case. His mother was very resourceful, a bargain shopper, to be sure, but even that did not explain the miracle of their table. Law recalls the particular way they dealt with leftovers as a window into the truth:
Ordinary 17 (Proper 12), Year B
2 Kings 4:42-44 † Psalm 145:10-18 † Ephesians 3:14-21 † John 6:1-21
In the fall of 2014 IHNFA, the Honduran Childcare services were restructured by a Honduran government that was under pressure from UNICEF and in a season of reform. It had been an open secret for some time that the majority of the IHNFA budget was enriching administrators and bureaucrats rather than serving the vulnerable and abandoned children it was charged to protect.
Many services were cut, including the government-run children’s homes and some of its foster programs. This created its own challenges in a country of 8.5 million people in which 138,000 are already without a home and more than 1 million are housing insecure.
St. Andrew Sermons