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 Spoken Word

eye wonder

(Click here to listen.)

Another sun rises
And we should not be surprised when it seems to burst through the lies
That there is no light worth seeing
With every ounce of our being we silently applaud the darkness fleeing
As the world of shadows becomes the world of forms
For a moment, the storms have ceased, and increased our awareness of
This present moment. That something new might foment.
And here, I wonder.
Although we remember the thunder of days past, will we let them cast a shadow
Or will we allow the light to shine
This doesn’t mean we turn a blind eye toward what was, but we shift our focus
To what can be. That we might see, and our eyes might wonder.
Eye wonder.
As blinders are torn asunder we begin to see a bit more clearly
So much in our world we’ve nearly let go by, without batting an eye
And it’s not that we must more strongly try, but that we may simply need to let hurry die.
To hear the cry of golden beams of sunshine lighting up the trees
The one who sees holds treasures for a moment, not to possess or to employ, but to enjoy
Eye wonder.
The brightest greens of springtime grass, the winds that pass gently
Carrying seeds to furthest corners, even the mourners who profess their sadness deep
There is beauty there in keep – steeping slowly in the humanity we’ve usually passed by
We’re invited to let our eye – wonder.
Drawn in by realizing that light shines even here, we’re set free from fear to hear
Voices we’ve previously cast aside
Eyes and Ears opened wide to allow our fellow man to confide
That they’ve missed out on beauty too.
In different ways than you. And I wonder.
Will you hear their stories? Will we pause from seeking glories at the expense of every other
Slowing down to join our sister and brother
Realizing they’re not so different as they seemed in the darkness
And the starkness of this, eye wonder, speaks to the blunder of those who cannot see
Proclaiming the light is broken. Not just a token moment from which we easily move on
But a dawn, an arrival of sight in ways we’ve needed to recover
To see the value of “the other”, the beauty we discover when we realize what the light reveals
How it heals what has been scarred, and as those marred find themselves restored
We find that we’ve too long ignored, as we’ve looked for sources to plunder
But here is eye wonder.
Reminding us that’s it not always about what we can take, for goodness’ sake
We must live as those awake – not only to what can be – but to what is
That we would not miss the sacredness of this. present. Moment.
Walk slowly, with eyes fully open, continue hoping – but also look them in the eye
Seek the why, instead of assuming you know the story. Know that glory comes more fully
When it’s shared. When we’ve dared to cross the aisle, to walk the extra mile
In their shoes. They often didn’t choose their path, and the aftermath of such a finding
Becomes a blinding light inviting new things to be
And then – I wonder what wondering eyes might see.

Posted in Different Scriptures, Spoken Word

Hebrews 13:20-21

When our world thinks of blessing
They often see dollar signs
Strength to fight disease or war
And freedom from daily grind

But when God’s followers pray to blessed
We are reminded right here
That it has little to do with our bank accounts
And more that God would come near

That God would make you complete
In everything Good so that you
Could do everything which is pleasing to Him
Which you were created to do

To reflect the image of God
To reveal His nature as Love
To live in such a way that shows
The great shepherd has offered enough

The same God of peace who brought Jesus back
Eternal Covenant by blood made
Is the God who offers through us to shine
When our world can’t see through the shade.

May we define blessing as living as light
In a land afraid of the dark
Proclaiming His Love & Hope with our lives
When all the world can hear is stark