A Good, Good Friday Ramble {wandering with purpose}

Alternately titled A Circuitous but Purposeful Invitation to Awareness. :)

When Jesus had finished all these words, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.
— Matthew 26: 1-2 (ESV)

I’ve often wondered how the disciples could live unaware of what was coming, with all the hints Jesus dropped. My goodness, they weren’t even hints! But the authors of the Gospels were writing from memory. They spent a lot of time with Jesus. And Jesus said a lot things that didn’t make sense without explanation.

I know how it is; I can only ask someone to explain things to me so many times before I start feeling silly. I’ll bet there were moments when, instead of saying “come again?” the disciples may have brushed it off with an “Oh, you know, just another one of the strange things Jesus says.”

It is true. Jesus said a lot of strange things. We have plenty of them on record. He was basically a walking poet; a man who quite often used imagery to communicate his heart to and for the world. His imagery wasn’t always easy to decipher or interpret. I think he had quite the reputation, as the prophets who prepared the way for him had, of being more than a little eccentric. When you live with someone’s eccentricities, you may grow fond of the way they manifest, but you might not find yourself able to take everything at face value. You’ve possibly made a category for it, and can usually find a way to fit the dissonant things into that category. It’s only after the word becomes relevant that you recall the details more vividly. Perhaps it was only after the Son of Man had been crucified that his foretelling became clear in memory.

It seems so obvious to those of us reading it centuries later. A glaring target you couldn’t possibly miss. That’s how I used to feel. Considering physical context, though- the weariness of travel, of errands, of crowds pressing in, wondering where to sleep, eat, wash, etc, there were a lot of things that could have distracted from the reality of what was really going on.

I know I’d worry if I didn’t sleep in the same place every night, or know where my food was coming from, or have an idea of when I'd be able to do laundry again. This is so outside my comfort area; I like to know what’s coming so I can be ready for it. I am a girl who needs a plan! I would likely have been more focused on securing my near-future comfort - the needs of my needy body- than on unraveling the prophetic mysteries of the poetry of Jesus. I can really empathize with his followers. They had quite the lifestyle of moving about and receiving, um, interesting orders from Jesus.

It reminds me, once again, of how difficult it is to be here, now, and in this moment. I’m so often wondering what I need to do to make tomorrow secure, or to fix something that went wrong yesterday, that I forget to live in the present. My bodysoul has needs right in this moment, and it’s possible I am adding stress by ignoring the immediate needs in favor of the ones that will arrive in the future. If I’m not truly inhabiting the present, then perhaps I am not hearing what Jesus has to say to me now, either.

I don’t think I’m meant to feel guilty about this. I see it as an invitation that, even though I have turned it down countless times in a day, the opportunity to accept it is still before me. Jesus is inviting me to hear him, now, at this time: with my ears, with my heart, with my full attention. He is welcoming me into this present moment. He is freeing me to put down the worries of tomorrow’s business or yesterday’s brokenness, and simply dwell beside him as a breathing being; to hear what he has to say, even if it doesn’t always make sense to me. (And yes. There are a lot of things that don’t make sense, giving me the chance to practice living by heart before head.) The message that I am always meant to hear, understand, and receive, is that I belong. I am loved and wanted, body and spirit- all of my self.

What am I hearing from Jesus today? It’s an old, all-too- familiar verse, about God loving the world. John 3:16. And yet, maybe not so familiar as I had thought. Jesus invited me to take a closer look this morning. I reviewed the promise of everlasting life. Now, if you’re like me, you may have gotten the childhood impression that it’s a promise for the future- heaven is secured, thank goodness. Children are always looking for more security. It was a comfort to me.

But what does it mean for today? If that life is eternal, then I am now encompassed inside that experience. It doesn’t start at my mortal departure from earth. It is now. Right now. Even if the effects of death are still at work in this world, or in my body, the effects of divine Love are also at work in me to bring me life. The Spirit brings life!

What about you, friends? On this day that we symbolically enter the darkness, may we remember that we carry this life within us- this connection to Jesus is ours right now. When the last light is extinguished tonight, I invite you to pause and breathe a prayer of thanksgiving to the One who will be present with us wherever we go; speaking life and light into body and soul.

Linking up with Tara Owens for her Embracing The Body synchroblog. I have not had the pleasure of finishing her book yet, as I have been deeply focused on leading my first ecourse. But at the end of each chapter I have read so far, she extends just such an invitation as I spoke of in this post. A time to enter into a pause and connect to Jesus. I am grateful that Tara listened to the call to write this, and I believe it will nurture more grace, life, and hope into the way we view our bodies and ultimately, how we learn to be in this world. I invite you to read her invitational words here.

Jamie Bagley