“You don’t actually believe all that crap, do you?”
There is a good bit of historical record from the time of Jesus. Archaeological. Temples. Cities. Edifices. But unlike the way those today would proclaim their King-dem, the life Jesus led would not be signaled in artifact or chiseled into stone. The life Jesus lived is etched in all of time and for all time. It lasts as we last to tell it. It's reborn in us each Christmas. Rediscovered with each birth of new life -- in us -- And renewed with each loving act. Holy crap! What was that? I didn't know I had it in me.
“I’m not leaving his side.” This is the expression of love. A love so deep that it proclaims, nothing is separating us. I am staying right here… in case he needs something, in case he hurts, to prevent him from getting lost or wandering away, so he won’t be confused or lonely. This is the language of love and devotion.
How must it have felt to Jesus to leave those he loved so dearly? Those who had loved him and been his closest companions. Those whom he had ministered to, taught, mentored, loved. These with whom he had laughed and cried, eaten, slept, prayed, walked, and sat in silence. These with whom he shared his final hours around a table where bread and wine became body and blood. What must it have been like to know that your leaving will cause overwhelming grief, mourning, pain and sorrow? To anticipate this pain and yet, agree to go?
Perhaps this pain was even greater than that inflicted by those who derided, flogged and crucified him. Perhaps this was why he asked this cup be taken, why his prayer evoked drops of blood. He longed to stay with those he loved. What reason could there possibly be to separate a love like that?
Only one: to prepare a place for us, all who love him, so we can be where He is. The only thing greater than a love like that is a Love Like That.
I sit mesmerized by our choir singing powerfully of the lamb of God slain. Crucified, dead and buried. We emerge in the silence of the dark night. As I sit in my car waiting for traffic to clear so I can make my way home, I wonder at what I’ve seen and heard. A dinner with friends so closely followed by denial and death. This speaks so loudly of the way of this world. Why do I force myself to sit before the sights and sounds of Good Friday? I know this story; it slays me.
The parking lot begins to clear and I power up my car to make my exit. I have inadvertently left the radio on and its lyrics shock the silence. “God’s not dead he’s surely alive,” croon the Newsboys. I smile to myself, then sing along. “He’s living on the inside, roaring like a lion…” I even turn up the volume a bit as I pull past the few remaining cars, motioning one woman driving a mini-van into the line ahead of me.
I wonder if she or the parking attendant in reflective orange who is directing traffic with orange-glo sticks can hear me and the Newsboys. Can they see me smiling and singing along? Probably wondering about me.
The way I see it, why wait? The weight of three days has already been lifted. God’s not dead; he’s surely alive.
Everybody does it. Taking a break is part of life. Perhaps part of the human condition.
- Baseball takes the all star break
- Football takes, um, halftime
- Basketball coaches take time outs
- Hockey, well, I think there is time off after the Stanley Cup
- Kids and their teachers take the summers off
- Employees get weekends
- Families take vacations
Time away is rest, relief, recovery. But getting started again, now that’s the hard part. Because time off changes you. Especially when the break is final.
On June 11th I said goodbye to Rosy, my sweet golden companion of 14 years. Exactly 14 years. June 11th was her birthday. We worked day and night to get her to that day. Tried everything we knew to keep her going. Then, on June 11th, 2013, she was perfect. All she came to earth for was completed. Now she is new, but she is not here.
Every now and then someone comes into your life that changes you. It may be a dog. Rosy was that dog. The question is, How do I begin again?
I’ve read an expression that helps.
Don’t be sorry they’re gone. Be thankful they lived.
Today, I begin again in light of that thanks. Rosy, you impossible, wonderful, miraculous soul, you were one of God’s best ideas and my dear, dear friend. The “clearance puppy” we didn’t return. The one with the spunk, unfazed by Ranger, the gigantic husky who was your adopted brother, and tolerant of Silver, the new brother who would become your constant companion. You never knew you were “handicapped” because we never told you. You just adapted your way through life, literally taking it all in stride, wagging and wobbling on the way.
Thank you for all you were to us. I am glad to picture you now, running happily in heavenly fields. Perhaps chasing (and retrieving) the ball that on earth you could never chase. An eternal game of catch. Playing with all the other heavenly souls. If I had any doubt about where I would find you, your brother Silver is making me believe. He is here on his bed, running and wagging and dog-mumbling (perhaps speaking in heavenly tongues?) in his sleep. He is obviously very glad to see someone. I bet it is you. Because it would be just like you, knowing he misses you, to come to him. Comforting others is how you lived and how you loved. A love like that never ends.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. ~ 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
Farewell, dear Rosy. You lived well. You loved perfectly. And now I give you back to Love.