John 7: 37 – 41
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”
Others said, “He is the Messiah.”
Sometimes you’ve just got to speak up.
Throughout the gospels, there are plenty of occasions where Jesus tells people to keep quiet about what he has done for them. In fact, “in biblical criticism, the Messianic Secret refers to a motif primarily in the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus is portrayed as commanding his followers to maintain silence about his Messianic mission.”
Yet here in chapter 7 of the gospel of John, Jesus stands and in a loud voice declares that people should believe in him. It was time.
Scott Cairns says, “I have an increasingly keen sense that our apprehension of any difficult matter is most available when we actually speak what we have heard. Just as a great poem opens up to us when we say it aloud, so too do we discover unexpected significance in saying what we think, in giving the bodily energies of breath and pulse and the resonance of our voices to our otherwise disembodied thoughts. In this way, we begin to embody our faith….. our faith is not simply a matter of propositions, nor of doctrines, nor of ideas, but is necessarily a matter of incarnation, of our embodying what we believe, performing that faith with our lives.”
Speaking aloud, telling someone, testifying to what we believe to be true and life-giving and representative of the good news of the gospel, is what allows our faith to take root.
If we believe that God’s love is radical and inclusive…. If we believe that God’s love is inconsistent with arbitrarily telling those with a minority experience of gender or sexuality that they cannot experience intimate love and family…. If we’re tired of the dissonance that pits our hearts against our minds…. If we’re convinced that the bible is supposed to reveal a good and loving God to all people ….
Then maybe its time. Its time to speak up.
- What truth do you know in your heart that you’ve avoided talking to others about? What holds you back?
Give us the wisdom you granted Jesus to know when it is time to speak up. Give us courage to trust what you have convinced us is life-giving and true. Guide us ever into fuller revelation of who you are and protect us from that which is false. Amen.
This Lenten reflection accompanies the Tell Your Pastor #imaffirming initiative. To learn more click here.