Body, Blood and Bare Wood
Sitting here anticipating Maundy Thursday. The final upper room discourse. The body and blood of Jesus. I am captivated again by the passion of Jesus... the struggle... the determination. March 22, 2005 I posted this little poem. I first wrote it in 1999 while studying in the atrium at Regent in Vancouver:
small naked curled up ball of fear
numbing darkness joints marrow
tears blur stinging
slipping through the cracks
the cry, “Lord, save me!”
light glint swinging rapier
Back to Holy Week 2008: there is something about hearing a voice... something about the word from the throat, the gestures and tones - the conviction - that just goes missing in text form. In this regard, the red letters in the Gospels are so fascinating. Captivating texts. Yet, there is nothing like revelation coming from a whole human being... nothing like being plugged into heaven amidst the people of God coming to terms with the word of God embodied in Jesus Christ.
I'm so glad Jesus Christ spoke up... Up until that point in history there was already so much editing and rewriting. I'm not saying the Old Testament scriptures were not inspired or whatever your word may be for it... I'm just saying, writing is a certain craft... and there was so much to be revealed - and then Jesus showed up and started making beautiful oragami of all those pages... yes, fulfilling everything written along the way. Jesus kept saying, "It is written." And then, after his death and departure, everyone started writing again... While he was around I wonder if all the feather pens just stood still in their inkwells... maybe Peter, James and John kept journals. I don't know.
I love the Gospels, and all those incredible layers of words and symbols and cyphers. Just to pick four authors, I look at Luke, Peter, Paul and John and wonder.. Peter especially! Like the guy had any idea when he first dropped his nets that he'd craft such incredible stuff... "inexpressible and glorious joy" ...that stuff sings! And the creed of Philippians 2 and the poetry of John 17... and the Revelation of John... I mean those guys mastered and distilled texts in a Spirit way... "It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you..."
I've been hunting to find documentable words for all these revelations and experiences... so many without words... uninterpretable in text... It's like trying to imagine Ezekiel or Daniel or Zechariah or John seeing and hearing all that stuff and then trying to get it all down on parchments. Must have scratched their heads a lot... sitting by a river for days speechless... I guess I'm after sound these days. The rumble of the heavens. Tone. The heartbeat of the words...
I guess I really miss preaching... proclaiming the King. And when I go looking for tone and sound - God always brings it, through the skies, from beneath the earth... I'm after that stuff again... not to increase my faith or as a demand to show me something... It's God's smile my way... all of creation groaning along with me anticipating the revelation of the Son of Man coming in the clouds.
And it's not that being a word-bearer is some nice cute glossy eye-ball slow-mo great-lighting movie scene of an adventure. Not when the word-bearer gets sent (time and time again) to struggling leaders in big positions... well, big by their terms. Most of the time, the messenger ends up shot in the back. Most of the time, the messenger is so deep amidst the web of networks, so far removed from the front office that once the dust settles, the word-bearer is totally forgotten... the word-bearer is often marginalized, mocked and misunderstood by most people "on the inside". When dealing with sick and diseased infrastructures, the most authentic kingdom authority is typically always outside in ... that's one reason why Jesus was crucified outside the city.
The word-bearer worth their salt knows before they ever utter a word that they might die right after that word is spoken... death is filling the room as that word is uttered... and yet they still speak it out. Yet, the word-bearer survives, they live what they are speaking... they choose life... until the world is no longer worthy of them. They are the embodiment of their own words... because their words are becoming more and more the very words of God. In that way, they are Christ-like. In that way, they are humble. In that way, they are perpetual repenters. Cause there is nothing like an ivory tower full of sin to bring a stairclimbing word-bearer to their knees. God is on the move and some sinner is sent somewhere with a message... sons and daughters of God, sure... just wait until that moment when the conviction of your own fallenness and minititude (smallness) overwhelms you... small naked curled up ball of fear... and there is a fear that is the beginning of wisdom... dread is a good thing at times.
Do you think it's easy to speak one word to a church and then watch it close its doors? Is it easy to stand with a leader of leaders while they pull the pin from their own grenade? Is it easy to serve a movement from the outside while many on the inside reinforce their walls?
I'm so thankful for Jesus Christ and his leadership and his understanding and his cross. May his people continue to follow him into every gutter and high place on this planet as His kingdom comes... His waves of revival proclamation are coming... bones are shaking... wake up o sleeper!
It's time to witness Jesus bring His Church (in certain places and nations) down to bare wood... shaving curls down onto the threshing floor. Yes, it's all about grace... and maybe grace has been training a few fighters to go a few rounds with non-grace and un-grace.
When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you'll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear babble that we think we mean. How can they meet us face to face until we have faces?
C.S. Lewis - Till We Have Faces
"You've been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don't understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, 'Where is the Father?' Don't you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you aren't mere words. I don't just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act.
"Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can't believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I'm doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I've been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I'll do it. That's how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I'll do.