I live out in the country.
Just a few seconds ago, I looked out to see a car of rednecks flying by, and one of those rednecks tossed a beer bottle into my front yard.
And I had just been thinking about how lovely this day was-- all sparkly and clean, perfect temperature, just beautiful.
And then this thoughtless kid throws his garbage in my yard. It wasn't personal. It had nothing to do with me. It was all about him. He threw his garbage out, wherever it pleased him.
I've been thinking about the cross and wondering, What more is there to say, really? We've sung a thousand beautiful songs. One of my favorites, He's Alive by Don Francisco, will be one that I can bet my kids won't have heard tomorrow (my "kids" are in their 20's and 30's but are woefully uneducated in the world of hippie "Contemporary Christian Musicians" from the 70's. It's fun to be there the first time they hear the words of these songs), and it moves me to tears every time. As a child, I would sit in the den and listen to the words over and over again. I did it with all of these albums.
I'm starting to think that I was a weird kid. I need to ask my mother.
Anyway, how many times can we try to put ourselves there, in the garden or at the foot of the cross? How many times can we repeat to ourselves the words of his story, trying to imagine the blood streaking across his precious back? I think to myself that it is a wonder that this man everyone talks about knows my name. Knows me. In my imagination I see him dimly-- sometimes a character from a movie, sometimes a version of my dad, sometimes just some man that fits the traditional images of Jesus the Norweigan. Sometimes he looks just like this soldier that my friend Katie and I thought was gorgeous when he leaned in our taxi to check our papers at Bethlehem. I want to be profound, and I wish that I had been there...but as it is, I can only feel Him.
And sometimes I feel so much.
And I wish that I had something profound to say.
There was something about that beer bottle tossed into my front yard, though. I think of how much I love this little house and how irritating it is that he just threw his trash at us like he was more important, and then I think-- I keep thinking of this Creator/creation business-- about the fact that so I often throw trash at my life, at the creation I am a part of, at my faith... I don't know. It's vague. But a sense of carelessness...
And I wish that Jesus would just appear here.... I knew a girl, once, who had that happen to her. Carla was living her version of Janis Joplin's life down in Ft. Lauderdale, drunk and sick in a hotel room. Carla described the night that she gave her life to the Lord in explicit terms, but what I remember most is seeing it in my mind.... She's on her knees, sick and desperately sad, when the room lights up like the sun had risen right there. She said it was like the angel of the Lord (or the LORD?) had come into the room and she fell at his feet and she gave him her life, lock, stock and barrell.
She's gone on to be with him now-- she died of cancer a few years later, about two years after I last saw her. She sees him clearly now. Face to face. She knows.
And don't we just long for Him? Oh my gosh, I love being alive on this earth-- I love my friends and family and everything He has seen fit to give to me, but to see Him? How can it be?
And that's really what this holiday, Easter, is about...that one day we will see Him face to face. He threw Himself on the mercy of His (our) Father and took upon Himself everything that would separate us from the One who loved us more than we could ever measure and He laid Himself down.
My words are so poor. Such feeble attempts to color the feelings in my heart: the whole thing is about Them. And They invited us in. For all of eternity, They have been entwined in this precious dance of beauty and They (Father, Son, Holy Spirit-- impossible to understand but the closest thing we have while still bound up in earthly terms) have made room for us in their arms. And all we have to do is say Yes. Lie down. Succomb. Accept. Give up. Stand up. Live. Live.
What more can we say? Maranatha, Lord Jesus. And thank you. Oh, thank you.