Friday, November 1, 2013

No wonder...

November. Can you believe it? I can't. The year flew. This November brings so many things. A trip to the Bay area to celebrate Thanksgiving with our little city dweller (Yay, SK!!!), Thyrza's 95th birthday is on the 11th--which makes her the oldest person I've personally been acquainted with. We talked to her last night with Grampie. What a kerfuffle that was. "I should never have moved," she kept saying. "Why don't you get yourself back here," he answered. "I'm going to try," she told him. "I have room for you." Then he started talking to me about Kleenex, scratching his back, the oxygen machine, and completely forgot what the phone was, let alone who was on the other end of the line. He's NOT who she remembers. November also brings the end of Daylight savings time, which I love for the first hour of extra sleep. After that I'm sorry the darkness comes so early in the afternoon, and that Beve hardly sees daylight at all.

But first, November brings Random Journal Link-up Day

I can hardly reach my journals now that we've built the shelf abutting the ceiling in our bedroom where they've found their permanent home. Tonight, because November also means basketball season, Beve was watching some game on TV, and I hated to bother him, so I jumped and grabbed one toward the right end of the row. It's from the spring of 2009. This is rather a long entry, but it spoke to me, and I hope it will to you as well.

Holy week. While most of the world was busy going about its business, Jesus was aware of the inexorably ticking clock. Everything He did, everything He touched, everything He said has the scent of "last time" to it. I've been at the end of things before. The end of high school, which--then!--represented the best time of my life. The end of college and that final packing up of my things (with Dad's help!) and moving away was far less simply sad. There'd been great joys in college but excruciating heartache as well. Leaving home for Europe--twice--and the real (final) leaving home, leaving a life where I dwelt like the sun in my own singleness for marriage, where I'd never again be simply me. I had to die to that former self--each time, in some way, the last especially--in order to fully live in the new reality.

But such analogies break down because in each instance, along with the sadness of leaving was a joy--small or GREAT--about the future. What lay ahead was potentially, probably, hopefully, the very best of life. Not, I've NEVER lived a week where everything I touched was the final touch.

And most of us don't have such an experience. Even in the last days of our lives, we are either blithely unaware of the timeline of our breathing or are too busy with the difficulties of that breathing to savor such moments. To pay attention. 

It occurs to me that the last week of Jesus' life most resembles that of  prisoners on death row who know the date of execution. Their realm of life is puny by then, and they've already had most of their last things before being convicted, maybe before the committing the crime that put them on this path. Still, the knowing, the terrible, haunting knowing that death is coming, that a man-made, audience-d death waits at the end of the week must be a heavy burden. 

It was so for Jesus. It made Him get to the heart of the matter. He didn't have time for extraneous concerns. Trivial pursuits. No, such things fall away at the end, so when we think of what Jesus cried and prayed over, what He spent His sweat and tears on that last week, it's not rocket- science to get where His heart was. Praying and crying over Jerusalem, then demonstrating those prayers by clearing the Temple--He'd been about this business since He was 12-years-old. Washing His disciples feet as a picture of servant leadership--He'd called them, served them, slept with them, ate with them, LOVED them, and telling them He wouldn't always be with them so they'd have to serve each other. Allowing a woman to worship Him as a picture of His burial needs. In every conversation, every touch, death was the nuance behind His tone.

It made Him unusually serious, I think. burdened with a weight slowly bowing His shoulders, as He anticipated not merely His physical death--a painful, gruesome way to die--but the bigger loss of His Father. "I and the Father are ONE."  Jesus often said this. Now facing the ripping of the fabric of that unity. Imagine that. Imagine facing the first moments EVER--in your life, your pre-incarnation, the history of the world--when you WEREN'T in complete communion with GOD. The first moments in eternity when God turned His face away from you. No wonder it was such deep sorrow. 

In a sense, it was then--in His last/first separated moments from God--that He was most like us. Separated by sin, the one who knew no sin. And it killed Him.

And it kills me to think of it, frankly. That my sin-filled, natural existence is the one thing that killed God. HAD to kill Him, of course, but also just did by the dirt and filth and infected sin of it. To think of moving from union with God to union with sin. Volitionally. For me.

That's love.
That's Jesus. 


Dawn Paoletta said...

So much depth and deep theology in this journal share, C! Wow, doesnkt begin to touch it. I like the bit about dying with each change someWhat-in theory of course. In reality it is sad to have to say flesh does not die so willingly. But thankfully He promises to finish what He began in us. Thanks. For this oNe. Good words to ponder!

Kel Rohlf said...

I agree with Dawn...a beautiful sermonette on the final days of Jesus...glad you shared as it puts into perspective what lies ahead as we remember Jesus' birth and all the glory it evokes...but that glorious birth leads to a horrendous death, which in turn grants us a gracious new life with Him! Amazing!