Posted in Different Books

waiting for Jesus…

John (one of the disciples) was there near the cross as Jesus lived what seemed his final moments. The mother of Jesus, Mary, was also there. These were excruciating moments, watching their loved one suffer. The pain they felt was probably intense. The confusion was unsettling. Their hopes were being nailed to a cross, and their hearts likely throbbed with each rise and fall of Jesus taking breaths while hanging there. Yet in those moments, they were seen by Jesus – and united. “Woman, here is your son. Here is your mother.

We don’t know a lot of details about the life of John after the resurrection scenes found in the gospels. He and Mary seemed to move to the area of Ephesus, where John would have made sure Mary was taken care of. He likely spent time with her, perhaps even coming to know the heart of Jesus through her in ways that impacted how he presented his gospel message. His gospel in particular is drenched in the Love of God that was revealed in the life of Jesus Christ, and a desire for that Love to be known in all the unique ways John was allowed to understand them.

A while back, you may remember (or can read here) me sharing about a book by Niall Williams. I enjoyed it enough to put another one of his on my “to read” list, and finally finished it recently. The novel is simply called “John”. It touches briefly on the topics I’ve just mentioned.

But a large part of this book focuses on John on the island of Patmos (after Mary died, and he went (or was forced into exile) while Christians were persecuted on the mainland), and the final days of his return to Ephesus. The book imagines with compelling details, the possible scenarios John may have wrestled with in his final months and years. It’s an aspect of John that we don’t often allow ourselves to wonder about. How was his faith tested, as he shared his letters and all that had been experienced by him or revealed to him – yet lived in a world that didn’t seem to be coming under the increased Lordship of the Love of Jesus Christ. He is increasingly surrounded with false prophets and gospels, and people who adapt the message of Jesus to better fit the reality they seem to live in. His response as imagined by Williams here is an invitation for many of us.

A question that John wrestles with – is one that many of us are faced with on a regular basis as well: What does it look like to faithfully wait for Jesus? John’s own followers are in often overcome with humility in his presence – after all, this man has walked with Jesus! Yet he wrestles with wondering – if God has such power and the Kingdom truly “has come” or “is now coming”, why doesn’t it look the way he would imagine?

Small spoiler alert: The good news of John’s story is not that Jesus returns to bring completion and New Creation within John’s lifetime. Nor will the activity and narrative of God always fulfill what we may imagine it should. But Love has come, is coming, and will continue to come in ways that invite us to join, & discover it as our foundation. This living Love is sight for the blind. This is light in the darkness. This is hope for the weary. This is Jesus, Son of God – through whom cosmic redemption has already begun.

Cue LeVar Burton, “But you don’t have to take my word for it….”

Posted in Different Scriptures, Spoken Word

Matthew 28:1-10

Even Jesus needed an angel
To roll away the stone
Perhaps if not, the guards would’ve thought
He’d risen all alone.

As if he hadn’t really died
Just suffered so immensely
So bright and shining angel of the Lord
While they watched & fainted, tensely

The women watched and didn’t faint
But waited on the Lord
But there must have been a little fear
Which the angel dismissed in word

“Jesus is not here, for He is raised.”
The mighty angel said,
“Now go and tell his disciples
He’s risen from the dead!”

They turned with quick intent to run
With such joy in their eyes
But dropped to worship instantly
When Jesus appeared, “Surprise!”

Such a childlike Savior, appearing
While the angel was on a mission
And telling them to hurry back
Maybe He wanted to go fishing…

Posted in Different Scriptures, Spoken Word

John 12:1-11

This final cast of characters
From years of Jesus’ service
Would be enough to make any good Jew
More than a little nervous

Gathered in the home of Lazarus
(Who was raised from unclean dead.)
And in comes an emotional woman
Washing his feet with the hair of her head

Her hair was filled with fragrance
That filled the home with scent
Making Judas seem indignant
At what such a gesture meant

Surely the value of such things
Could be used in better ways
(“Trust me”, he may have thought to himself
“I know someone who pays.”)

An awkward meal, it may have been
The dead serving the dying
And more than one among them
Who would end the week by lying

What dinner conversations
Do such moments offer friends?
When you know the lives you share
Are coming to an end?

Still Jesus welcomed all who came
From curiosity or Love
No matter our motivation
A desire to know more is enough

Enough to join a moment
Where He offers to break bread
There’s no better time, or week than now
To read through all He said

His words were not spoke hastily
For God knew they’d be received
Every word was spoken that we
His Love would come to believe.