Ok. To set the scene, I came up north Sunday afternoon. It was a terrible drive, but as I was by myself, and going to a place that has been my own personal refuge since I was a child, it was worth it. I have been alone in a cabin with a fireplace and a HUGE jacuzzi tub since. I was supposed to go home today, but I VERY UNFORTUNATELY have gotten snowed in and am extending my stay for a day.
THIS IS WHERE YOU FEEL BAD FOR ME.
The REASON I came up here was multi-faceted. It was a recharge, yes, but much more than that, it was the dedicated time and space to get some writing done. I have been feeling led to flex my muscles a bit more in this category, but have been feeling pretty directionless. So I was hoping that this time would help me have some quiet moments with God, to sit in the stillness and hear what’s next.
And did He ever respond.
I am not ready yet to share in great detail what has begun over here in the land of Laughing Without Limits, but I am prepared to tell you that is has not got a whole lot to do with laughter, and instead delves into the broken and the hurting and Savior that weaves amongst them. It’s heavy enough that it has had me crying for the last day and a half, and that alone has me intimidated beyond belief. I tend to take things into my Person, and I know that this will be a heavy thing for me to carry around until it is finished, which who knows when that will be. But it already feels as if it’s a piece of me, another organ, so to speak, infiltrating my body and taking on the rhythm of my heart beat.
Part of the work I am doing in preparation of this is digging my feet into the Gospels, reading them line by line, doing an intense character study on Jesus. Who was he, outside of the Disney version that we hear about today? What was his main objective? Why did he do what he did?
And it has been…. overwhelming. To give you some of my background, I was raised in a Catholic home, went to a Lutheran school, a CRC college, where I got a degree in Theology, worked for a chapel for a year, and am now excitedly going to a wonderful church in Minneapolis. Jesus is not a stranger to me. I have literally grown up hearing about him. This last year at our church, it’s been like getting to know Jesus all over again. Getting to know the BIBLE all over again. How it isn’t just a compilation of stories, but one Great Story. You would think I had known all of this, but I think the difference between Disney Jesus and Real Jesus are subtle. I think they are dangerously subtle, so you don’t actually know that you are following the American Dream version of Jesus and not the Threw the Temple Around Jesus that speaks from the Bible.
I dug through John yesterday. It took me all day. My pretty new Bible looks all a wreck now. What I found was an intense, outspoken, fearless Man Who Was And Is God, who ruffled feathers all over, both with those who followed him and those who hated him. Because he kept repeating and repeating and REPEATING what people just weren’t picking up. That he came from God, that he IS God, that he is the ONLY thing that will usher us into Peace with God. He wasn’t boasting morals. He wasn’t boasting fairness (because, really, what is fair about our salvation being handed to us? Nothing). He wasn’t giving free hugs. Everywhere he went, people flocked, in awe or out of intense hatred. There was nothing lukewarm about him. Nothing.
I feel like somewhere along the lines we have swung on our pendulum from fearing God too much, and from keeping God so distant from us with levels of Goodness between us and Him, to now losing that Divine Rawness that is so inherent in the Gospels but that gets filtered out in a lot of “feel good” Christianity. Jesus should make you squirm. He should give you goosebumps. He should all at once remind you of your brokenness and remind you of His Grace. Remind you of your helplessness and remind you of his Strength.
I am incredibly excited to continue on in this journey. I have no idea where it will end, but I hope it will be in a book that has some meaning to it. But regardless, as in most things, I am assuming that the growth that comes within the process will be what matters more.
I encourage you to read the Gospel of John on your own. Leave whatever thoughts of Jesus you had at the door before you step into his world. Judge for yourself what he looked like. John is a storyteller. That’s why I started there. I wanted to KNOW Jesus before I stepped into the other Gospels, and I connect the most with Story.
Let me know what you think.
I’m off to drink more coffee and turn the fireplace on. I know, I KNOW. It’s a burden. (If it’s any consolation, I AM running out of food. 😬🤷🏼♀️ )