This past Sunday we eavesdropped on a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus and found the beloved verse, John 3:16--"For God so loved the world..."
Some of us remember “Rainbow Man” from the 1970’s who appeared at major sporting events wearing a rainbow wig and holding a “John 3:16” sign. His determination in making certain everyone see his message led to his conviction for multiple kidnapping felony charges--crimes which he claimed were ploys to get more publicity in sharing the “Gospel.” He is now serving three life sentences in prison.
How tragic it is that the Rainbow Man did not include John 3:17 where Jesus reminds us that he did not come to the world to condemn the world but that the world might be saved.
In contrast, Quarterback Tim Tebow wore eye black bearing the inscription "John 3:16" during the 2012 NFL Championship Game. It has been reported that, in the course of the game, 90 million people googled John 3:16. And no one was kidnapped!
As we continue this journey from Ash Wednesday to Resurrection Sunday, how are we choosing to offer space for folks like Nicodemus who need time to process what a new relationship with God looks like?
We all know that the foundation of a good gumbo is the roux. Even though there are only a few steps in making an roux, the main ingredient is patience. It is the same with "making disciples." How patient we must be both with ourselves and with those who are struggling with faith. For truly, God so loves all of us.
May those who look into our eyes see the acceptance that comes from no condemnation, and may how we treat one another be a sign of God’s unconditional love.
March 6, 2023