“Inflation & the Cycle of Blessings: The Currency of Truth”

Weekly Bible Devotional

“Inflation & the Cycle of Blessings: The Currency of Truth”

October 16, 2022

Scripture: John 14:1-6

 ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

Notes on the Text:

Our scripture for this week comes from Jesus’ farewell speech to his disciples found in chapters 14-17 of John’s Gospel. It is important to remember that these words were addressed to insiders and not outsiders. They were not intended as a call to convert to a certain religion.

 

Jesus was about to leave his disciples and they were asking him all kinds of questions which showed their deep level of anxiety. He knew that disciples were struggling with his imminent departure. They could not imagine the future without him in their midst. How would they face opposition and the continue to be faithful to the mission and vision of Jesus when he was going to leave them behind? The same anxiety was true of the community to which the Gospel of John was written. Remember that the Gospel was written between 90100 CE which meant that the followers of Jesus were experiencing anxiety about their identity as Jews after the Roman Empire destroyed of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE. There was great persecution of the Jews and fear among them which led to some serious divisions. There was a growing sense of mutual alienation between the Jewish community and the Christian Jewish community. The Gospel writer was trying to explain the stories of the faith and Jesus Christ in light of that conflict to defend the followers of Christ. That is why we see the emphasis of the Gospel on the person of Christ and not just on the teachings. The Gospel writer was trying to help his people understand that the message of faith that Jesus taught was about a relationship, a way of life and not just the teachings, rituals, or beliefs. Into this context, we hear Jesus speaking about truth. At a time when truth seemed illusive, Jesus was calling his disciples to a greater way of seeing and living God’s truth.

 

Yet, this very scripture is often used to objectify truth and to make it sound as if Jesus was trying to say that his way was the only way. A couple of things could help us here. First, the location of the word truth between way and life. In his book, Holy Currencies, Eric Law invites us to look at all three words to get a fuller picture of what Jesus was talking about. He writes, “I often wonder why Jesus put the words ‘the truth’ between ‘the way’ and the ‘the life.’ If Jesus wanted to use a simple either-or interpretation of ‘the truth,’ wouldn’t saying, ‘I am the truth,’ be enough? Both ‘way’ and ‘life’ are multi-dimensional. A way is traveled through time; there is a direction, a movement from one place to another. A life is lived over a period of time in different places, and in relationship to other people. We do not take a moment in someone’s life and call that ‘a life.’ A life involves a past, a present, and a future. Neither do we take one step of a journey and call that ‘the way.’ The way also has a beginning, a movement through different environments, and a destination. Perhaps the meaning of ‘the truth’ being sandwiched in-between the multi-dimensional concepts of ‘the way’ and ‘the life’ ought to be understood in a similar way…the spirit of truth calls us to attempt to understand the multiple points of views. This truth discerning process is always complex and messy…the truth emerges out of the exploration and understanding of the many different points of view based on different experiences of the people in the community.”

 

The second thing to remember about this text is that Jesus was speaking to a Jewish community. He and his disciples were Jewish and sought to embody the ideals of their faith about justice, compassion, and love in the best ways they could, especially through communities of love.

 

For Reflection:

This week we look at the Currency of Truth to help us during this time of rapid inflation.  One of the hard challenges when it comes to the currency of truth is our expectation that one person or one group can have the objective truth. This often reduces truth to something static that can be controlled and managed instead of a living relationship that emerges out of our own experiences. Think right now of the political divisions that exist and how people on different sides believe that they have the truth. It is easier to reduce truth to something we can handle instead of allowing it to shape us.

 

When we think of truth, we are tempted to think that it is about facts or what we believe to be objective truth. This kind of thinking is being put to the test in our time with so many opinions and narratives about who is right and who is wrong. We are often left confused or overwhelmed by the sheer divisions that exist today around even simple facts. Outrageous conspiracy theories have become mainstream in our country with many people believing them.

Also, we sometimes think that we don’t need to dwell on the past or listen to the voices of those who are hurting or on the margins in our societies. However, there is no moving forward in positive ways unless all voices are heard.

 

Jesus’ words about the truth being relational help us expand our ability to lean into the mystery of God and of life instead of putting them under our control. The currency of truth is about authentic and caring conversations and the honoring of the different experiences of life.

 

Jesus was inviting his disciples to see the truth of God through relationships. His relationship with them was the essence of that truth. Instead of looking for objective knowledge of life and of God, they were invited into a relationship. Jesus was issuing an invitation to the disciples to this sacred journey. He did not invite them to a set of beliefs and doctrines. His invitation was to a journey.

“Too often in the past our approach to truth has been to assume that we have it and others do not. Consequently, we have thought that our role is to tell people what to believe. We are being invited instead into a new humility, to serve the holy wisdom that is already stirring in the hearts of people everywhere, the growing awareness of earth’s interrelatedness and sacredness.” John Philip Newell

 

Prayer by Joyce Rupp:

In the passing of the seasons, phases of the moon, rising and setting
of the sun, and the stars glowing in the universe,
may my love deepen and expand.

 

In the twisting, turning, and tumbling of everyday comings and goings,
in the joys and sorrows that visit me,
may my love deepen and expand.

 

In the voices of people who have become central in my heart,
who tame the rough edges of my hidden self,
may my love deepen and expand.

 

In the faces of strangers and passersby, in each human
whose spirit joins invisibly with my own,
may my love deepen and expand.

 

In the lonely, distraught, and disdained persons longing to be
respected and treated compassionately,
may my love deepen and expand.

 

In the unity that resides among everything that exists upon
and within this beloved planet we call “our Earth,”
may my love deepen and expand.

 

In the moments when the truth of my inherent goodness reveals itself
and sends me forth to be kind to others,
may my love deepen and expand.

 

In the silent prayer of my heart when I pause to be in deliberate relationship with you—the Holy One who guides my life,
may my love deepen and expand.

 

In graced situations when the truth of my unfinishedness
and the lack of being all I could be comes to greet me,
may my love deepen and expand.

 

In the motivation found inside the journey of Jesus, his compassionate life,
and the generous way he responded to others,
may my love deepen and expand.

 

In the heartbeat of hope coming from stories of the Risen Christ,
a steady Light-filled presence living on within me,
may my love deepen and expand.

 

In this moment, this day, this place, this time, this body that is mine,
when I repeatedly open my mind and heart to you,
may my love deepen and expand.

 

Guide of my life, may I be as present to you as you are to me. In giving myself to the process of spiritual growth, I trust you will show the way to live as my truest self. In all I am and all I do, my heart rests in your abiding love. Amen.

 

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