I hope one day to hear a woman preach about John chapter 3. If you were in Sunday school the same time I was you remember the felt board regardless of denomination, the dark sky flap and maybe the moon stuck up on the board to signify the darkness Nicodemus hid under when he went to go talk to Jesus. It is then that Jesus tells Nicodemus he must be born again.
I would like, one day, to hear a sermon about being born again from a woman who has participated in the birthing process from the mothers end. So many women I know feel as though they were also re-born in the midst of birthing their children. Birthing is a powerful thing.
I have heard a very many amount of pastors who have preached on John chapter 3, but they always seem to gloss over how deeply uncomfortable birthing is. I don’t just mean the labor pains. All other animals are born when they are ready, when they can function well and survive okay, they still need their moms but most baby animals are more developed than a human baby. (God bless the elephant mother, they gestate for almost two years.) Human babies are born when they run out of room. There just isn’t enough room for a baby to gestate the four trimesters doctors have decided would be ideal.
The discomfort is on both ends. The last weeks of pregnancy are impossibly hard. I am learning in this life that I was born again when I accepted Jesus into my heart in the mint green room, being lead down the Roman road by the pastor’s wife, but that I am also always being born again.
Most often, it is the discomfort that finally makes me move on. When I grow out of space and simply cannot abide being stuck any longer, it is then that the forces seemingly beyond my control, move me to be born again. I am learning to embrace the discomfort, to take it for what it is, a warning that the time is coming to be born again.
And I have never heard a sermon on John 3 that speaks of the waiting. Of the way that you just have to let the first contractions come, how you need to go on about your day, take a walk, or a nap. How the contractions at the beginning don’t mean you need to do anything but notice. That you need to rest because something is going to happen and you need to be ready, but that you don’t need to rush to the hospital or tell everyone on Facebook, that it is only a time of noticing that something is beginning. Maybe.
I long to hear a sermon, about being born again, that articulates the strange and sometimes terrifying sensations that is transition. I want someone to mention the way your body finally gets used to one kind of contraction, one kind of pain, and while intense and difficult, you know how to cope and then this whole other thing is thrown your way. I want to hear the stories, from the pulpit, of the women who decide in that moment of transition that they are NOT having this baby, they would like to stand up, or sit down, or go home, or quit. How none of those things are really a choice but they all feel reasonable. I want to hear the stories of how you need to be talked down by your midwife or your husband, that this bizarre sensation is simply a marker that the next phase is on its way.
I wish that someone would mention, when speaking of being born again, about the numerous ways a baby can be born, c-section, epidural, water births, how each of these needs to be honored, all paths to spiritual re-birth are still about new life even if the circumstances aren’t ideal. I want someone to preach about how we can only really know our own stories, that traumatic births can happen in the physical and the spiritual, how the re-birth is still valuable even if it doesn’t go how you planned.
I appreciate the sermons I have heard on John 3, I just long to hear a sermon on re-birth by someone who knows what it feels like.