I could have more morning time and be elated, really I could.
My Bible, pencils, coffee and big dog waiting patiently.
As I read, journal, think and thank.
Happy about it or contented in the ease of moments doesn’t really express how much I’d like more morning.
I’m in the Book of Numbers, refusing to skip it along with Leviticus this time.
It’s passage and passage of muddling through; if, but, sacrifices and rules, regulations and particulars.
When I was a teenager, I dated the preacher’s rebel grandson. We sat in the back of the church and changed the words of the hymns to dirty songs.
What a sinful rebellion, I followed along.
We loaded up the church van on Saturday mornings and we all had palm-sized booklets, stories of Jesus we’d been coached to share.
I wanted to be there. I wanted to be a follower of the rules, a follower of Jesus.
We told the story of Jesus because the preacher told us to.
Most of us, I believe not knowing Jesus really at all.
At least not me.
Still, we were good pupils of the teachings.
We were compliant. We were afraid. We were forced.
And so, I’m reading Numbers, a Psalm, and now the Book of John.
Because I want to.
Psalms recalling the greed of the people led from wilderness, through a parted ocean sized sea, fed manna from heaven and water from a rock.
Safe, rescued and led; yet, longing and discontent.
These followers of law, empty, defeated and angry unwilling to subsist in the provision of God through his reluctant leader, Moses.
Never able to attain enough, be enough, walking straight, stubborn and stoic enough to see themselves worthy of the ways of law.
Following rules, striving for perfectly, afraid to believe in grace.
I’ve been there.
A child in church with an angry leader who wanted us all to go to heaven, but didn’t really believe we could.
I wonder now, who formed his shame-filled mind.
Caused him to preach shame and remorse over mercy, love, acceptance.
I came to know the love of Jesus in my thirties.
A desperate need has become a peaceful seeking.
I’ve been confounded to understand more
The grace and favor that require no merit at all.
Yesterday, I read about Judas bringing the soldiers to Jesus. He’d spent time with the Twelve, handpicked to follow. He was despondent, yet calmly submissive over the coming day of His sacrificial death.
Some had slept when asked to watch and pray.
Peter promised allegiance, then denied being acquainted with Jesus.
Judas brought the soldiers to the quiet of the garden and Jesus calmly told them all, I’m the one you are looking to capture.
Then Jesus, knowing all that could happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” John 18: 4
I imagine his arms open, as if to welcome their violent intrusion.
I hadn’t thought of Jesus as courageous before I thought of dark, angry soldiers intent on his arrest.
I sat in the quiet and filled the margin of my Bible.
Sketching a lush garden of flowers, Jesus facing an army of men seeking to destroy.
If you had told me I’d be coloring in my Bible 30 years ago, I would have denied it.
It would be one of those rules I’d be terrified of breaking.
I would still be telling the story of Jesus, a good story from a little booklet, afraid to get it wrong.
I’d still be telling a story, prompted by shame.
I’d be telling the story, cautionary, spurned by forceful warning of Hell.
I’d be telling the story of one who never knew grace herself.
Never believed in the courageous, sacrificial arms wide open love of Jesus.
It would not be my story.
My story of now.
Of mornings with Jesus.
Answered prayers in His name.
And simple, graces and glimpses unexpected of heaven.
Like Mary Magdalene searching an empty place on a hopelessly longing and grieving morn.
Looking up to recognize the Savior as he said “Mary”.
Her story is mine.
I have seen the Lord. John 21:18
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