Still the testing, still the faith thing


After yesterday’s sublime writing in the dust, today it is still with John, still Chapter 8, still the conversations in the Temple, still the to and fro, still the confusion, still the testing, still the faith thing.

And as I was reading today’s passage – I always read Jesus’ words with the benefit of hindsight went through my mind. These words pored over two thousand years later … they can never be read “as they happened.” Always I/we bring not only ourselves, we also bring that accumulated wisdom of two thousand years with us when we read, debate, judge, glean, believe (or not). We can do nothing else. It must be thus.

So I travelled further than the prescribed verses today. And read most of chapter eight this way today …

“They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father.
So Jesus said ….
Even as he spoke, many believed in him.
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said ….
They answered him ….
Jesus replied ….
….. they answered.
…. said Jesus ….
…. they protested ….
Jesus said to them ….
The Jews answered him ….
…. said Jesus ….
At this they exclaimed ….
Jesus replied ….
…. they said to him ….
…. Jesus answered ….
At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.”
verses 27-59

And taking out the words spoken, leaving the connecting phrases … two thousand years dropped away and was no more. The construction of this conversation much more familiar to me. Much more “now”. Much more what I do each day: I said, he said, so I said, then they said, then she replied, and I thought, but they …

And maybe we pick up stones a little less often nowadays. We just seem to have replaced them with words. Insults, put-downs, tantrums … or the silence of disapproval … or the passive smile with its twin “the nod of agreement” (not!!!).

The confusion of the Jews, the Gentiles, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Judeans, the Galileans, the Egyptians, the Romans, the rulers, the temple guys, the great unwashed … they came with their own two thousand years of wisdom and hindsight. They knew how things were, how things are and how they would be.

Their hindsight was not of Jesus. Theirs was of tradition, teaching, the political climate, the climate of boundaries and rules and domination … of power and force … of unfairness and poverty … of expectation and entitlement.

And once again that sounds so “now” in the world I see and inhabit. Global commerce, the force of military might, countries occupied, countries in turmoil, financial meltdowns, foodbanks, religious fervour and fanatics. Much more the now with which we have become familiar. A “now” we breathe and are when we look inside the bible today – and ponder, and hope, and pray, and expect. A “now” we take to conversations about the failings of “church” … of God himself … of each other.

And sitting here writing and thinking and listening … those two thousand years between me and the bible is not hindsight. It is the same blindness as afflicted all the bible people … all those “us“ who listened to Jesus in the temple … in the dusty valleys and green places …

They were blind to Jesus then, as we are blind to Jesus now. Not all. Not everyone. Many. We still have the same fracture lines, the same questions, the same habit of rejecting what is so simple. So compelling. And so free.

And Jesus is still here. Still walking amongst us. Still partaking of the He said, they said, He replied, they objected, He …. Still conversing through these words written so many many years ago. Still with me this morning. Still the same. Always the same. Always waiting to be invited. Never insisting. Never forcing. Never demanding. Always Love. Always that same eternal Love.

A Love so all-consuming there are still no worry-lines on God’s brow, still no grey hairs of stress, still engaging, always ready, never too busy.

And if that is true (as I believe it to be), then maybe we can find it in ourselves to see that the bible is also “now” – a mirror reflecting back the same now as then. To put down our “wisdom” and hindsight. To shake off the scales of our own blindness. And see how utterly simple God has made things for us. That Love is utterly simple. Utterly compelling. And utterly consuming.

No wonder Jesus used children as an example. Childlike simplicity.

I am of I Am.

End of.

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13 thoughts on “Still the testing, still the faith thing

  1. You really raise a great point today. If you think about, we are all Pharisees, we are all Jesus, we are all “us” and we are all “they.” Our views are filtered through our traditions, our personal pasts, our cultural pasts; sometimes we set all of that aside and reflect Jesus, sometimes we can’t comprehend Jesus because we forget to set all the rest aside… Just like those Bible guys.

    Yet, we have read through to the end of the Bible story, and we know who the hero turns out to be at the end, the one who rose from the grave, so we should be better able to discern. And sometimes we do… but still, there are times when we don’t. And yes, let’s be clear, “we” includes “Me” more often than I like to admit!

    • Don, it hit me hard this morning – Love – and the eternity he has been Love. ?? thousand years ago, two thousand years ago, now, two thousand from now … Always there, always the same, never giving up, just that same open invitation freely offered. And how “we” get stuck in today. Just like “we” have done every day for the same thousands of years (as long as it called Today). Over and over again! Man, that is LOVE!!

      • Agree with that McD, And Don’s us/them/we/you all mixed up together is another truth. Too easy to be a “they said” to another. Too easy just to see the They Said’s and not see ourselves. Splinters and planks all over again.

    • Levi, a big Thank You for your words. I am thankful that he keeps on touching me with such tenderness each day. Day after day, year after year, millennium after … Applied Love in action! Wow! It blew me away this morning!!

        • Another “exploding brain” follower of the way! Wahoo!! 🙂

          And we live in Essex. London … go right/east … stop a few miles before you get wet.

            • Do you know – we have travelled to loads of places round – but never to – Thetford! Weird!! It’s a lovely part of the country! Norrrvuk (as they say) 🙂

  2. Hmmmmm….”They were blind to Jesus then, as we are blind to Jesus now. Not all. Not everyone. Many. We still have the same fracture lines, the same questions, the same habit of rejecting what is so simple. So compelling. And so free”
    My prayer is that God give us a hearing ear and an understanding heart. Free us from “ourselves” so that we can see Jesus. Thanks for sharing, Paul

    • That old free will thing. Freely given 🙂

      McD I keep being connected with others with a hearing ear and heart. I still remember being connected with you in the most illogical way. My prayer is he continues allowing me to see these connections for what they are – so we may build each other up – and take that strength and connections to others. Thank you for stopping by 🙂

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