Monday, March 2, 2009

I Wish I Could Have Been There - Lent plus Six

"Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" (John 14:5)

Back in the early 80’s I remember reading a little book with the following title: “If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going You’ll Probably End Up Somewhere Else…” The central idea was not dissimilar from that of The Purpose Driven Life, or The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. Too many people live without any clear vision and – as the Bible points out – “Without a vision the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).

So there Jesus was, going over the highlights one more time with his friends, telling them about the place he is preparing for their future (See yesterday’s blog). And Thomas, never one to hold back his true feelings or his doubts, asks the obvious: “We don't have any idea where you're going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus must have paused in the moment, maybe raised an eyebrow or inclined his head, reflecting on all that he had said, all that he had taught over the years that he had know these men and women. And I can see him, clear as day, leaning back and smiling knowingly to himself, opening his hands expansively to take in every single soul in that room. They must have sensed it, too, capturing the moment with rapt attention, leaning in as one body to hear the Master’s response to the question Thomas posed…

“I am the way and the truth and the life,” Jesus voices, dark eyes overflowing with love and compassion. “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Christ pauses, making eye contact with each one around the table, deliberately and with love, drawing them into himself, into his spirit. “If you really know me,” he continues, willing them to know him, “you would know my Father as well. From now on…” and here he, too, leans forward into the tightening circle… “you do know Him and have seen Him.”

You could have heard a pin drop. It was one of those moments, those defining moments, from which you emerge with more clarity than you ever imagined.

I wish I could have been there, sitting at the table, leaning in to Jesus. I don’t know – there are many scenes from the Gospels that I am drawn to. But this one, where he dropped such an incredible truth right into their laps, this would be special.

Of course, such illuminating moments are always a possibility, even today; because the ministry of Jesus - right here in the middle of real life - is not merely historical, it is current. How would we choose to respond to such an opportunity today? What would we have the Lord share with us at this moment? How much of the truth are we prepared to hear now, right here, where we are, on our knees?

This would be a good moment to talk with Jesus about it, one on one.

PRAYER: It is hard, Lord, to kneel. Yet we do: contrite, submissive, eager to learn. Teach us and heal us. Amen

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