Today, at church, Greg sporadically interrupted his larger message to note that Jesus, after he arose from the dead, took the time to fold his burial clothes. I had never thought about that. That picture makes me smile. The picture of God taking the time, before announcing his risen-self to His disciples, to tidy up his space.
Greg’s pictures reminded me of this morning, when Lucy took her time to make our bed. It’s an interesting cultural understanding. As a guest, you make the bed, even though you know, your hosts will most likely strip the sheets and do laundry upon your departure. Judge poked at Lucy by saying, “Okay, I guess we have to make our bed too now, gosh Lucy.” But it’s just one more way that Lucy expressed her gratitude to us, her hosts.
In the grave, it’s almost like Jesus knew he was a visitor and was putting his last final touches of thankfulness and gentleness into the soil of this earth. I see him as a gentleman. Literally, a man of gentleness. A God of poetry.
After leaving The Awakening, Lucy, Eve, Judge, Jessica and I debriefed about the church service in our front yard on rocking-chairs. Inter-faith dialogue has been a hallmark of our friendship since we use to compare the Torah and the New Testament on AIM for hours after school. Honesty, questions, comparisons have always been welcome in the Obus household as they were today on the Johnson’s front-porch. I know conversations with well-educated Hun folk will always be constructive and life-giving. Today was no different.
Eve asked plainly how I could believe in Jesus as an essential need for every human soul without judging her for her conversion to Judaism. I loved her boldness as she pointed out my lack of “logic.” I was reminded of wrestling with this conundrum in high-school. How could I believe in Jesus as Messiah and Redeemer and still love my Hun friends freely? Surely, it was a challenge to my Faith.
I believe Jesus is the only Way to be in the presence of Jehovah. He is the only way to enter into the presence of God. He tore the temple curtain in half. These are hallmark tenants of the Christian faith, and my faith as well.
Why don’t I sign up for outreaches where Christian’s hold signs on street-corners? Why do I actually cringe at that type of evangelism? If I believe Jesus is the essential need for every human soul, how am I not proclaiming that from the rooftops daily?
As the conversation barreled on, I sat trying to remember why I see Faith as personal and rarely explain my theology to anyone. Then, I was reminded of one of my other favorite pictures of the Father’s Love for all mankind. Jesus, in the book of Revelation, proclaims,
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. Whoever hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter in and dine with them like friends.”
I suppose the reason I don’t harbor judgement or even an anxiety is that I truly believe Jesus is knocking on everyone’s hearts regardless of their past, their theology or their religion. He’s knocking with a burning love that I simultaneously feel in my heart.
As a public school educator, it would be illegal for me to share my faith with my students. This is not frustrating for me. I think often of the quote, “Preach the Gospel always, if necessary use words.”
How rarely we have to use persuasive words. Man cannot circumcise the heart of anyone from rock to flesh. I quickly realized the futility of blind evangelism. In conversations and interactions with my children at Cedar who I deeply love, I daily hear the thud thud thud of the Saviour on their lives. I see them for who they are not yet. I have no worry.
Because He’s the God that makes His bed when he visits Zaccheus’ home. He’s a God who raises from the dead and then takes the time to fold his burial linens. He’s a gentleman who knocks on the heart of every person in this world. I’m not as loving or persuasive as He. As Jessica said during this conversation, God knows best how to draw His Creation to Himself. I very rarely try to stand in the role anymore.
He could barrel in and announce himself with fire and brimstone. He could hold up a big judgemental sign in Time Square or at Tate, but instead He knocks – not a pound, but a still, small knock.
And as Hill Chapel declares weekly, He is God all by Himself.