John, John, John, John, still in John, John, John, John. This chapter eight just won’t wait, every day another date, with chapter eight another plate.
If I sound a tad hysterical, it is only that “being grounded” sometimes (also) means running onto a sandbank. Watching the tide rise and fall, and still not moving. Chapter Eight of John is beginning to feel like that.
But the tides rising and falling brought other words this morning …
“Be still and know that I am God” … “Come to me all you who are burdened and I will give you rest” … “Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I can afford to be honest about how I am.”
Well God, I am finding this conversation as presented by John quite a gristly meal. Chewing and chewing. Looking at it in different ways. Trying different things. All of it helping wash away the distance between the years and you. And yet …
This morning and again these few verses … again Jesus sounding more like a debating academic … all the archaic language … translation/refinement/version after version all unable to change this style of wording … where is the gentle loving “be still and know I am God” kind of guy?
So I am chewing and chewing – and my jaws are getting a little tired.
Jesus answered, ‘If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, “He is our God”, though you do not know him. But I know him; if I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and I keep his word. Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.’
Then the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’
Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.’ John 8:54-58
More chewing and more gristle! And that phrase rings in my ears …
I AM. Three times in the words and phrases above. I AM eternal. I AM unconditional (please no arguments on that one today). I AM simple.
I AM simple (that last word jumping out unintended).
I Am Love. Love is the answer, what’s the question.
And suddenly … a growing thought and clarity. A nodding lord just behind my shoulder … seeing this misty vapour forming. A vapour swirling to sweep up others. And pulling them together into a page. A page of tiny, intense, perfect sheet-music. Beethoven, Brahms, Liszt … that kind of sheet music … concert style sheet music … whole orchestra sheet music.
And sitting there in front of me are notes interwoven: John being the throbbing base lines, Matthew, Mark and Luke – tenor and harmonics, other books, chapters, verses – all tinkling, blaring, crashing, teasing, smiling – and within the music: notes as “question marks”, notes as “emboldened characters”, music in different colours, in different fonts …
And then I see others with instruments – the orchestra forming.
The players of this wondrous music. Other faces and names: There is Heather and Denine – violins and bows flashing, their eyes locked on each other as they bounce notes between them, entice an intricate web of wonder from those violins.
http://de9k.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/water-to-wine/ and http://insideheathershead.com/2014/04/08/i-rsvp-yes-to-this-wedding/
And there is Don – cello and his bow. A lower tone. Underpinning. http://lifereference.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/gods-promises/
And then I hear LM – the percussion being notes not just bumps. How does that happen? http://sharethecoffee.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/journey-giving-up-gravity/
And then with an instrument that sounds like laughter there is Katie: http://katebortell.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/yes-you-are-good-enough/
And others … Limbi with his oboe, Levi with his trumpet, Mark with his Acker Bill clarinet, ChapLynne with that gorgeous double bass, Lilka with triangles – that instrument always adding that tingle, VWoods with her glockenspiel – wow those woody notes, Kenneth J with one of the wowsers bird-like blowy wooden things, Karina S, Chow Lin, the awesome Mel, BJ and his rivers of sound, BDL and his intricate psalms, McD and his thundering love, , , ,
The list goes on, the orchestra ever bigger, the sound ever deeper and broader and richer. Submerged in sound.. Submerged in Love.
And the lord is jiving and a-bopping and a-weaving his moves this morning. That wall of sound rocking this room. The bible this concert music, this unfinished symphony, this masterpiece and cacophony –
And he taps me on the shoulder. Points to John Chapter 8. And I understand.
They are notes. A piece of the whole. Without this chapter, these words, these notes – the orchestra would be missing a crucial part, the sound without would be emptier than with. And players in this orchestra will settle on those notes and find their God within. Will find their own “Be still and know that I am God”
And once again He has brought me this wonderful diversity, this wondrous gifted creativity, this no one is greater than any other, this I am of I Am orchestra to which we all belong. Each with our own part, each with our own sound, each with our own spirit.
And then in a sudden unexpected silence between waves of enthralling seas of sound – one tiny noise. A conductor’s baton clacking as it hits the ground. Slipping from fingers. Oddly – wow this is weird – done to draw our attention so “simply” …
God Jesus bends down and – with his fingers on this sliver of wood – looks us each in the eye. And smiles.
(My thanks to Denine and Heather. Their duet on the “Water into Wine” passage has been inside my head. Last night I went to sleep with their words. And then reading these few verses … the trigger!)
NB: I always suffer a little nervousness when adding others here. If you feel ignored or missed – do let me know.