So we all know Judas as the man who betrayed Jesus, but did you know he served as the treasurer for Jesus’ earthly ministry and sat in the seat of honor at the Last Supper? This was not an accident. Jesus loves His prodigals. He is constantly holding them near. Peter who denied Jesus three times was given the keys to the church of Jerusalem. Paul who outright persecuted the early church was chosen as the main witness to the Gentiles. Just when we think we are furthest from God, God is closest to us, calling us to come home.
We all know the “Lord is my shepherd” chapter. It’s a famous passage, right up there with the Lord’s prayer and John 3:16, but did you notice the slight shift that comes in verse 4?
In verses 1-3, David speaks nicely of God. He feeds me, He quenches my thirst, He finds me a shady spot to rest my head. Very idyllic. But look what happens in verse 4! When we enter into the Valley of the Shadow of Death (an actual place, so I hear), David stops referring to God as Lord and starts referring to Him as You. You are with me. You comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the midst of my enemies. When things get hard, David’s relationship with God becomes very personal. Not until David speaks of heaven does he return to speaking of God as by His kingly title of Lord.
Jesus invited us to refer to God as Abba, Daddy. David holds his Savior tight. We too are invited to hold tightly to our Father in the midst of trouble. We need Him always, but especially in those times. Our knee-jerk reaction is to estrange ourselves from Jesus when times of trouble. God invites us to draw closer than we have ever been.
I reached out to take your hand
we caught a patch of slush and slid into a ditch,
striking the passenger side into a hill
but we’re fine, everyone’s fine
we pull out
rent a car
and book our time with insurance-sanctioned
and I’m holding your hand again
because things are just things,
but we’re fine,
so everything’s fine.
Wow! The moment you walked in the room
I was blown away.
Your aura, your glow
is like something out of a painting.
You glide through the room.
Everyone you touch, hug,
talk to, interact with…
it’s like they were grey and now they’re
A Dolly Levi,
we’re so glad you’re back home.
Don’t ever go away again.
You see me. You smile.
You are so intimately huggable.
You tell me of your adventures.
Rock climbing, sword fighting
Fancy dinners with heads of state.
I struggle to keep my jaw from dropping.
You are like something out of a fairy tale.
You ask me how my day was.
Suddenly, I’m without words.
I’m sure I did something,
but I’m unclear as to what.
I am entranced by you.
I want to turn the tables around again.
I suddenly don’t care about what I had for breakfast
or where I went or what I did.
I just want to hear more about you.
But you care.
You look at me directly.
Your eyes never waver.
You are connecting.
Thank you God.
In this world of disconnect, I am thankful for you,
you who seemed born outside of this time and age.
I tell you about my day, my silly little interests
You smile and you listen
until my story is done.
Then you talk to me about your dress,
how you made it.
How you bought those earrings
in that bazaar in Morrocco
And the shoes were made
by a lovely old woman
whose husband took you on a tour
of the Chow Phry river
and how you studied Muay Thai there
and how you drank tea in China
and boba in Japan.
I tell you I am jealous
and you laugh.
“Just be you,” you say.
We hug again and you head off
to talk to others.
You are the eternal giver.
Later we will meet for wine
and fireside chats,
you will tell other stories
worries and concerns,
of your ailing mother
and your brother who has gone away.
I will see the side of you
I rarely get to see,
the honest side behind the superstar.
You will tell of your search for hope and meaning
and how you travel around the world,
always looking for it.
In some ways, that is my favorite part of you.
Not because it hurts, but because it is true.
You will apologize for rambling on,
but my friend you are never rambling.
These are the important things,
the hidden gems.
You tear up for an instant.
Only a moment.
You are strong.
You brush the tear away.
The words run away.
We sit there in the quiet.
I squeeze your knee.
We take a walk by the pier.
We find a bench.
You rest your head on my shoulder.
We watch the river pass by.
Later on, we’re over at your place.
So you can slip into your favorite
We watch old Marx brothers movies,
followed by a documentary
on the best places to drink coffee.
Finally, you fall asleep.
I kiss your forehead,
make sure the blanket is tight,
will keep you warm through the night.
Then I step out,
into the street lights.
The stars are up ahead.
I click my heels.
It’s moments like that
and people like you,
that make life worth living.
Even if tomorrow were to never come
I am thankful for today,
for you, for everything
You are a hummingbird,
always extracting the sweet nectar of life
from the world.
Hang out with people that astound you
Learn from them
See how they tick
We were not put on this Earth
to walk through it alone.
We were meant to walk together,
“It is not good to be alone,” God says,
and He made the Universe
so it must be true.
He knows us better than we know ourselves.
Let us devote our lives to getting to know each other,
to see with the Spirit’s eyes,
and ask how to love, to cherish, to redeem, and encourage
Read: Luke 24:13-35
I love the fact that, over and over again, Jesus’ own disciples do not recognize Him. Not on the road to Emmaus, not on the seaside. Not in entirety of the Old Testament. I think I love this so much because all of us, nowadays, “know” what Jesus looks like, because once upon a time a rich Spanish lord paid an artist to use his son to model as Jesus, and ever since then we have taken that image as THE picture of Jesus. But the Jesus in Scripture remains a mystery. He happens upon people, then He moves on, leaving them only with a feeling that they have been with the Divine.
This is important to note, because so often we KNOW who God is, what He is doing, and what He is saying to His people. But God remains higher, loftier, magical in a way. This is not because He does not want to be known. On the contrary, He wants people to seek Him out earnestly. To those people, He reveals Himself. You’ve got to want it. You’ve got to want Him.
So, friends, I leave you with this opportunity: to seek out the real and living God. He may surprise you. He may even shock you. But all that is good, because now you are in a real relationship, and relationship is at the core of our faith system.
Will you be so bold as to pursue Him?
“I wanna write a romance novel,” she says,
“where things are messy, things are perfect,
where romance isn’t smooth,
and the lovers don’t quite know what they’re doing.
Otherwise, you go into love thinking everyone’s got it all together,
and that’s not the case at all.
We’re imperfect beings, our fiction should be an education in that
So that reality goes a little smoother.”