April 4, 2010

Following Christ

Seeking God is a strange thing. At once I know there's something missing, and don't always know how to find it. I try to approach, remembering how I have seen Him before, all the while afraid that I'm being ritualistic or treating God like a recipe when I want him to be my feast. It's funny, how my own sin can seem to push me to God, and then when I know him more deeply, I find that he is the one drawing me to him, preparing the table and offering himself.

Last night, reading John and Isaiah 53, I felt with my mind and my heart the weight Jesus's death. Somehow, it became real and I was there with him when he died.

Everything faded away as He was killed solemnly, inevitably, heavily. I feel, along with the disciples, the heartbreaking certainty that it was my shame and sorrow and sin that crushed him and nailed him to the cross. I imagine myself, during that Friday and Saturday, knowing only that we killed him, and we are now his legacy. We must press forward, tell with mournful assuredness that Jesus is dead but we are alive. We must accept his death for us. It is all we have. This will be the greatest love we will ever experience. We have been loved with an everlasting love, and nothing in the future can surpass the love of Christ in his death. Except - I whisper to myself as I fall asleep Saturday night - except Christ himself, alive.

It's Sunday morning, and I imagine Mary Magdalene, weary and exhausted, tired from crying, when she goes to the tomb. Unwilling to face yet more sickening reality, she is thrown into confusion when she finds the stone rolled away and Jesus's body gone. But then, she sees him and hears his voice. If I was Mary, I would run up to Jesus, clinging to him, wanting to touch him and reassure my whole self that he was real. I would be swept away with relief and gratefulness and wonder, not needing to know how it had happened, not thinking about having to part from him again. It would be peace after being lost in a storm and joy after desolation.

When Jesus appeared to the disciples, he breathes on them and says, "Recieve the Holy Spirit." It seems to me that this is a beginning. Now, what Jesus was and is can be replicated in our lives. We offer ourselves as living sacrifices. We forgive as Christ forgave, and love as He loved. We suffer with him, and will be glorified with him. I think... before this point, the disciples could not think of themselves as imitators of Christ, only students of him. Now, we can follow him not physically, but in Spirit.

I wonder at how personal this all was. Palm Sunday was much more loud, more triumphal, than the Sunday we call Easter, though Jesus's resurrection was a great conquest of sin and death. Did the disciples go around proclaiming "He is Risen" to everyone they knew?

Jesus's talking to Peter must have been bittersweet. Peter, in humble insufficiency, trying to declare his fortitude. Jesus, trying to show that if Peter loved him, he must feed his sheep. What does this mean? Was Peter called specifically to serving the believers? Did Jesus mean that love is more than anguish at his death and joy at his resurrection, but obedience and trust and a life given wholly to him?

I went on to read 2 Corinthians 3. "When they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. ... When one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. " I saw another significance of Jesus' death. It didn't just have power because it was blood shed for my sin. Because Jesus died, I could experience what he did, and love him as a real person, not just a book. And because he lives, I am being transformed by his presence in me. I want to hold on to this knowledge of forgiveness, and hold on to hope. He is alive.


Liz said...

Thank you for your musings. :) I like reading your thoughts. I'm glad you're having a blessed Easter!

Lis said...

"...I find that he is drawing me to him, preparing the table, and offering himself."

:love.thoughts. not enough time. praise God for this morning. things I need to do today. meditations from yesterday. He lives. Good morning, Rebecca. Smile: