John 11:45-57

Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what he had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, ‘What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.’ But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all! You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.’ He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was about to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to put him to death.

 Jesus therefore no longer walked about openly among the Jews, but went from there to a town called Ephraim in the region near the wilderness; and he remained there with the disciples.

 Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. They were looking for Jesus and were asking one another as they stood in the temple, ‘What do you think? Surely he will not come to the festival, will he?’ Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who knew where Jesus was should let them know, so that they might arrest him.

In fear, we already give up our temple and nation.

We become an obscured version of ourselves concerned only with self-preservation, urging others towards doing the same – towards sacrificing one another’s liberation for the sake of preserving our temple and our nation.

What is this temple and nation in the hands of fear anyway?

They become bent on preserving themselves, self-focused, centers of scarcity that tempt us to uplift our own agendas instead of building with one another and seeing the ways that our communities, and our struggles, are interconnected.

I remember Jennifer Laude, who lived at this intersection. Brutally murdered because she was trans. Brutally silenced because unequal, colonial US-Philippines relationships urge injustice upon the poor and Brown, tearing apart our bodies and earth, for the sake of exploitative economic and military agreements.

Colonialism is not frozen in history or socio-political relationships. Colonialism lives on in colonized bodies and minds. But as many generations have lived under colonization, there have been generations rising up and resisting, reclaiming our bodies and minds.

How wonderful if we could join together generations worldwide, this Movement for liberation of all people?

What stops us?

When we live into faith versus fear, we resist the colonial culture of divide and conquer – we can stand strong having faith that when we build alliances and make connections that our own liberation will not be overlooked. We can live knowing that connecting our struggles will manifest in our collective liberation. Then we can be our Whole selves, never having to choose between our ethnic-racial identity, sexual identity, gender identity, or any other identity that we carry unapologetically.

We can resist the colonial, Empire goal of making us single-issue people, of making us incomplete. We can be the restored, transformed, Whole Creation that God created us to be.

Access the entire RMN Lenten daily devotional

 A Season of Becoming: Restoring and being restored for the transformation of the church and world

Pastor Jeanelle Nicolas Ablola

Pastor Jeanelle Nicolas Ablola is a 2nd generation Filipino American. Her parents immigrated to San Diego, CA (Paradise Hills) in the early 1970's and raised her in the United Methodist Church, her mother being a PK (Pastor's Kid) in the Philippines. Both her parents remain very active at their local church.

She received her Masters of Divinity (M. Div.) at Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley in 2010. She spent two years of Field Education at Buena Vista UMC and served as Minister of Youth & Community Outreach. In this position she coordinated a program called JAMS (Justice, Art, Music, Spirituality), which organized opportunities for the church and community to come together and strengthen relationship, through exploring issues such as the occupation in Palestine, LGBTQ inclusion in Asian Pacific Islander (API) churches, human rights in the Philippines, and establishing affordable housing in the city of Alameda. She also cultivated the leadership of the youth at Buena Vista UMC, supporting their endeavors for outreach, spiritual growth, fellowship, and critical thinking.

She was appointed Lead Pastor at Pine UMC in July 2011. She is co-chair of the CA-NV Philippine Solidarity Task Force, board member of NRJ, board member of the Bay Area Immigration Task Force, and a member of the Annual Conference's Advocacy & Justice Committee.
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