“You call me Teacher and Lord – and you are right, for that is what I am.” John 13:1-15
So the lectionary turns to the last supper. The drawing together of all that has been spoken. Jesus soon to be beyond the reach of His disciples. No more teaching. No more sitting around the campfire each night. And without any haste, without any urgency, without all the things we might do – we probably would do (if we were in Jesus’ shoes) … He simply scrambles their brains – again!
“Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.”
John does not report confusion other than in Simon Peter. But I wonder what the rest were thinking. I wonder how clearly they (mis)understood.
And sitting here with Him this morning – watching His old family videos – He chuckled. He was chuckling at my putting myself in His shoes. How I would have wanted to make things clear – give the dusty peeps some clarity – make sure they had “got it” – build them up and leave them strong … Not this adding to their confusion – not this absence of a last-minute pep-talk – not this symbolic imagery even more confusing to the disciples than the run-of-the-mill “parable confusion”.
“You call me Teacher and Lord – and you are right, for that is what I am.”
I am training to be a teacher. One allowed to bring the Word of God to those gathering together. To preach – to teach – to illuminate – to explain – to draw others closer to Our God. And one of the teacher’s teachings I keep bumping into is “make things clear” for “my congregation“. To make my preaching simple. To allow those hearing my preaching to know the points I am making. To underline and clarify.
It causes a tension within me. I have an intuitive “why?” I have an instinctive “they will get it if they draw close”. Because I see my “job” not as underlining and clarifying what I think –
I see my “job” as allowing each one to individually draw closer to their God that we call Our God. To allow each to sit beside another and commune individually with their God that we call Our God. To allow relationship between each and their own God (that we call Our God) – and to allow that connection to be as distraction, and confusion, free as I can allow. I see my “job” as allowing each to hear, to see, to know what their God (that we call Our God) desires each to hear and see and know with their own God.
And He chuckled this morning as I chattered away – as we watched His early late immediate years. As I saw and heard and knew with Him.
Saw that even in that last supper God Soft Hands Jesus did what He always does. He drew each close to Him so each could commune individually. Maybe not in that second, not in that moment … but in their time and His. Jesus knew He was going away – and was staying exactly where He is. He knew His death and resurrection was another blink of an eye. Because whether we say God … Jesus … Holy Spirit … does it matter? Each is One of One. And if we know one – we know One. And each One is in this moment always – if we allow.
And I wonder more and more just why we “dumb down God” so often when train our teachers and preachers. When we teach them to make things simple. When we teach them to get in the way of others “their God” that we call Our God. Just why is it that we teach our teachers to do that – to get in the way so often. The relationship with God and each other we teach and preach – that we so desire each has with their own God that we call Our God.
Because reading these verses today … knowing how the story ends … knowing He is with me right now … that He always Has been … that He never went away .. that He never will .. and yes that I have been saved …
It’s just that when He switched on the Light – more and more I have no desire to stand there in awe “of the Light”. The Light allows me to do – to be – to continue living and loving – to keep moving and breathing more easily. That Light – that being saved – for me is not the point: the Light allows me to see – to be free – and to love more unconditionally!
And yet …
I see so many standing, sitting, lying, waiting – all in awe – all staring at the Light! So many transfixed in the Light! So many immobile in the Light! So many staring at the Light chanting praise and worship and gratitude.
And then I see many more coming in to the room – they are not “us” because that expression on their face as they squeeze by the Light watchers … that is a look of disgust! These nimble movers who pass by the Light watchers – who continue living in the Light – who move around the room so easily, so effortlessly (and then leave the room for another).
And I wonder … as we teach the teachers. Do those teachers really believe the teachings they teach the teachers ? That our Lord and Father is present and living right here right now? Because if we do …
Why do we seem to get in His way so often as we “make things simple”. How is that “illuminating the Word of God” and bringing God alive? Why do we so often teach Light watchers to stare into the Light? Because I have found that makes me go “God blind” – and then I need to look for a teacher for more knowledge about the Light. To look in the wrong places for God – and to NOT hear the voice of God – and to know not God – but simply a bit more “about God”.
So as I am taught to make things simple … I wonder why we teach our teachers to teach “this is The Way to God!” (blindness?)
He had gone quiet. And I looked around and He is not chuckling.
And nor am I.