Thursday, February 1, 2018

February 2nd


This is the first section of the story of the Gospels that I have slowly been working on. It's about all that I have managed to do so far and will no doubt undergo a lot of change as I keep writing. 

*

The only sound she heard was her own heavy, harsh breathing. She ran through streaks of light and dark, she ran in the watery shadows beneath the trees, the tops turning gold with the dawn, the sky a blue growing light between ragged streaks of black cloud. Above her ran the steep hill, the stone of it hollowed out into narrow homes for the dead.

Higher yet, upon the bare brow of the hill were the dead and dying splayed out upon the blood stained and splintered olive wood, their wretched bodies meant to be left as carrion for crows, no relative to gather their bones with honor, with care, and lay them with their ancestors in ossuaries, nothing for them but agony and ignominy in death under the name of Pax Romana.

The first Caesar, the Emperor of the world, had named and adopted his heir many years before, and now Tiberius was Caesar, the son of the deity, and all the coins of his kingdom were set with his face and title. He ruled the world from Rome, set amid her seven hills, her founders, it was said, suckled by a she wolf.

Amid everything else that he had inherited was one small country whose people served a God whose image could not be captured in stone or wood, and whose name was so holy it could not be spoken, and whose history was replete with stories of bondage and deliverance. Even now, they were waiting and all their stories and all their rituals, feasts and holy days marked for them the history of salvation, and the resolution toward which their God, who was the only Living God, was bringing them.

In this country, on one particular day early in the morning, a woman was running through a garden. She had forgotten everything in her delirium but one thing, that one thing pounding in her chest, filling her with both terror and joy.

She did not see the other women, dark and cloaked in the path ahead of her, until she collided into them. These two were dulled by grief and bewildered wonder. For a moment, all was a confusion of beating hearts and lost balance on the path. Their voices were sharp with surprise, but muted with fearful caution as they caught her.

They spoke in a language shaped by years of captivity in a foreign land, the syllables sometimes soft and sometimes guttural. As they spoke, the holy city on its own hill just across the brook Kidron was beginning to stir and awaken after a prolonged Sabbath, the blood of thousands of slaughtered lambs sacrificed three days before having run down through the city and into the waste valley of Hinnom, where everything unclean was slowly, endlessly burned in smoldering heaps.

With trembling, impatient hands, the runner pulled her hair away from her face, staring and unworldly in the dawn light. She could not speak, but she stared intently into the face of one of the other women. This woman was older and her face bore the ravages of terrible suffering. The scars left by suffering were recent, and while they were carved right through her soul, they could not move the foundation of peace that was laid in her spirit. This peace was shining from her deep set eyes, because for a second time, a messenger of the Living God had announced to her news of great joy, and she was holding this joy like a warm coal within her, the joy beginning to melt the severe trauma of the last three days.

This coal in her now burst into flame and she could not remain silent. She clasped her worn hands together tightly and sang, these words in a language far more ancient than that of captivity, the words written in the Law and read from the scroll, the words spoken by the forefathers loved by the Living God, the sound and shape of the words that had been carved by His own finger into the rock of the mountain, where they had been led by Him out of slavery and drudgery and death, the mountain covered by the fire of the Almighty One, and trembling with the weight of His glory. She herself knew what it was to stand shaking before the holy light of God.

“Oh, how I praise the Lord! How I rejoice in God my Savior!” she sang with fierce joy. ““How powerful is his mighty arm! How he scatters the proud and haughty ones! He has torn princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly. He has satisfied the hungry hearts and sent the rich away with empty hands.”

The second woman looked from one to the other, eyes wide. “What? What?” she whispered to the younger.

“It’s true, what they said,” she whispered through trembling lips. “He’s alive. I saw Him.”

They stood there, looking at one another in a fear of God too great for words, as the implication of what they had seen and heard began to swell in their hearts. The entire world had been remade. Life and death, heaven and hell, what it meant to be human, what it meant to belong to God- everything had been turned inside out and was remade. They stood in a new world. In that moment, only they knew it.

*

The evening was clear and quiet, the breeze cool. The air was full of the sound of keening insects and the buzzing of thousands of fat yellow bees bumbling from flower to flower. The winter rains had left the landscape covered in green and brilliant yellow, in blowing pink and white wildflowers. From hills farther away came the faint bleating of sheep as they were brought home for the night. The sky above was cerulean blue, rising without end toward the zenith and falling into a golden tinge toward the west where the sun was slowly making its burning way toward the Mediterranean Sea by way of Mount Carmel.

A small group of men were walking in single file up the narrow path to the top of the hill. Against the sky and the towering hillsides, they were not tall figures, bent forward against the steep slope. The setting sun turned their dusty robes ochre and their skin bronze, illuminating profiles and burnishing their dark and curling hair and beards. The eldest was last in line, his leather satchel of tools slung over his shoulder, his head bare to the breeze. His eyes were amber brown, flecked with gold, unsettling in the brilliance and clarity of his thoughts. Though he was at the height of his strength, he was no longer a young man, and years of labor and sun had worn lines around his eyes and mouth, left his hands hardened with callouses.

All day he had been shaping rough logs into ceiling beams down in the growing city of Sepphoris, some four miles north of his village, and much closer to sea level. The work was monotonous and physically demanding. His body ached from the back of his neck to the soles of his feet, but he walked steadily up the hill with the long strides of one who was accustomed to hard labor and long distances.

Just at the brow of the steep hill, he dropped his satchel unceremoniously at his feet and brought the side of his hand to his mouth. A splinter was lodged there, stuck between his thumb and first finger. It had been there since the late afternoon. As he worked at the splinter with his chipped fingernails, one of his brothers turned back and gave him an questioning look.

“Go on,” he said to the younger man. His voice was gentle, the words were spoken swiftly in the rural and colorful dialect of upper Galilee.

“You’ll be late.”

“I won’t.”

“Don’t stay out all night; you’ll worry her.”

“I won’t.”

“You’re the eldest. She depends on you,” Jacob insisted, his back held straight, his eyes intent. Some old, unspoken complaint lay at the back of his insistence, but it could not be spoken and he himself was hardly conscious of his own feeling.

Exasperation, fed by his physical exhaustion, flared up in Yeshua, but he let it burn away, leaving behind a kind of well-worn but comfortable patience. He looked up and into the younger man’s eyes with a glint of humor.

“Thank you for reminding me. I won’t be late.”

Jacob paused, but already Yeshua’s thoughts were far away from him. In his experience, you either had his whole attention directed at one like the point of a sword, or none of it at all, and sitting beside him then was like sitting beside a sun warmed stone wall. Sighing, Jacob turned and went on his way home.

Left alone, Yeshua crouched down on the side of the track and worked at the splinter until he had gotten it out. When he looked up, the whole valley below him was dipped into shadow, the hill tops streaked with light. Soon the lights of Capernaum, far to the northeast and Sepphoris to the north west would be glittering out in the gathering dark, able to be seen even at such distances.

He stood up with a slow, exhausted movement and turned toward home. Built into the hillside opposite him and near the top, was the small village of Nazareth. At the bottom of the valley, in the fertile soil, was set grain fields and small vegetable plots. Rising upward toward the mountain slope were terraces of grape vines and above them, the rows of olive trees, the leaves still holding the light and appearing to move even in the still air. Near the olive trees, rising two stories up, stood the stone dovecote. Groups of the birds lifted from the rocky ledges, circling through the air.

Yeshua tipped his head back and looked above the mountains to the eastern sky. The moon had risen, and was shining there, pale and white, almost full but thin as an old coin. His spirit went winging up beyond in effortless love until his bright eyes closed, hiding in his heart the elation that he knew. “Abba,” he whispered, the sound hardly disturbing the bees that worked busily around him in the growing twilight, but heard like a shout in the unseen vaults of heaven.

Echoes of some hidden glory seemed always to be heard within the depths of his spirit, a chorus just out of distinct hearing, but the melody heard to him haunting and unearthly. Certain passages of the Torah set off a thundering in his soul, like the shout of a thousand voices or the pounding hooves of an army cresting just over the hill.

He remembered hearing the words of the Servant Songs said one Sabbath as he sat amid his brothers, the progression of prophesy causing chills of apprehension, certainty and sorrow to wash over him in waves until the waters closed over his head and he was alone in the silence that surrounded the words. Even then, a bright circle of light remained wavering above him, showing him the way back to the surface.

This year, at thirty years old, he would be of age to enter the counsel of the village. Unofficially, they had been seeking his wisdom for over a decade, and sometimes lately, even people outside of the village had come looking for his counsel. He knew he stood on the edge of some great change, and that there was not much more time left of this life he had known.

As he stood on the hilltop, he remembered his first conscious memory, set amid a blurred landscape of tall river reeds, strong sun and the smell of mud. The memory was of his mother’s face in the night as he rested in perfect peace in her arms as she sang to him, her voice a murmur of Hebrew. The clay lamp was lit and casting a glow of amber around them, but it was not what he saw that he remembered so much, though he thought his mother’s face beautiful. It was what he knew. He knew that beyond the amber glow , beyond the dark Egyptian night, there was a place of uncreated, unchanging light that enthroned the very source of his being, the source and yet the same as himself, where he had come from and where he was going to return, and where he would always be rooted, because he and his Father were one. The joy of this was settled as bedrock and endless like the sky, and yet he was breathing the humid night air, his little ribcage moving up and down, listening to the resonant sound of his mother’s voice, feeling the weight of gravity hold them to the packed earth of the room.

Remembering this, he smiled and drew a long breath. There would be warm stew thick with spring vegetables and lentils for dinner and he was hungry. Picking up his tools and throwing his tallit over his thick, disheveled hair, Yeshua went singing down the hill into the shadows of evening, chanting a psalm in his quiet voice.

I waited patiently for Adonai.
He bent down to me and heard my cry.

He brought me up out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire.
Then He set my feet on a rock.
He made my steps firm.

He put a new song in my mouth—
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and trust in Adonai.

Blessed is the one
who put his confidence in Adonai,
who has not turned to the arrogant,
nor to those who fall into falsehood.

Many things You have done, Adonai my God
—Your plans for us are wonderful—
there is none to be compared to You!
If I were to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to count!

Sacrifice and offering You did not desire
—my ears You have opened—
burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.

Then I said: “Here I am, I have come—
in the scroll of a book it is written about me.

I delight to do Your will, O my God.
Yes, Your Torah is within my being.”

I proclaim good news of righteousness in the great assembly.
Behold, I am not shutting my lips—
Adonai, You know!

I did not hide Your righteousness within my heart.
Rather I declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation.
I did not conceal Your lovingkindness
and Your truth from the great assembly.

Adonai, do not withhold Your compassions from me.
Let Your mercy and Your truth always protect me.
(Psalm 40:1-12, TLV)

The barley was growing in the valley, the first grain to ripen in the year, and the path Yeshua took wound between the fields of silver and green grasses, most of the sheaves gathered. The first of this harvest had been recently offered in the holy city at the feast of Pentecost. The smell of the grapes blossoming filled the air with a sweet, ethereal scent. They would be harvested and crushed much later, after the height of summer. A wine press was built on the hill almost at a level with the city, the great shallow vats dug out of the stone itself, with channels dug to drain the wine from the crushed grapes into holding tanks. Near the open space where the villagers tossed the grain at harvest time was a simple, rectangular stone building. It was set above the other houses and was not for living in, it was for reading and studying the Law.

The people of Nazareth were devout, rural and poor. Almost none of the houses boasted a second story prophet’s room, but most had a cistern built into the courtyard to catch rainwater as it poured off the low walled roofs and through channels, caught and kept for ritual bathing. The cluster of stone houses, each built around a central courtyard, stood close together for protection. The streets were a haphazard and narrow tangle through them, much of them steep stairs built into the hillside. At this time of the year, after the beating of the winter rain, many houses were under repair, the roofs being repacked and resealed.

When Yeshua arrived at his home, he could hear voices from the open courtyard door. His brothers had gone in before him and were now grouped together with their families, deep in conversation. His mother turned her head and saw him. She said nothing aloud, but her expression caused Yeshua’s attention to focus sharply. Sensing the change, his brothers and sisters in law all turned to him in one motion, looking for a moment like a small group of wild deer arrested by a sound in the wilderness. The mixture of fear, respect and even pity on their faces was not an unusual way for Him to be greeted in his own family.

"What?" Yeshua inquired mildly, lifting his eyebrows.

“Your cousin John has come out of the wilderness,” Mary replied, her voice matter of fact.

Yeshua’s motion was stilled, his thoughts flying far away. Then they returned and he looked at his mother.

“He says the Kingdom of God is at hand,” she said.

His eyes filled with a sudden compassion for her. For one moment, her eyes spoke to him eloquently of all she could not say, of the most personal and sacred mysteries decades old and living before her in flesh and blood, and of the words spoken to her amid the smoke and blood of the temple by the strangers who had taken the tiny babe right out of her arms, because he did not belong to her, he belonged to circles so wide and ageless that he had no beginning and no end.

The stillness was broken suddenly by the swift motion of a young boy who could not contain his jubilant expectation any further. All his young life he had heard of the promise of the Kingdom of God. He could not understand the strange hesitance on the part of the adults in considering this. He went running across the courtyard to his uncle, frightening the chickens and startling the donkey that had been fastened inside for the night.

“Uncle! Uncle!” he cried, his face glowing with a breathless joy. “Is the Kingdom of God here? Is it here?”

A slow smile broke over Yeshua’s face. He crouched down before the small boy and leaned forward, his work worn, bearded face holding an innocence and light that was even more pure than the child’s, and sharing the same illumined joy.

“Yes!” he answered.



Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Tide Can Always Go Deeper

This entry from June was written in my journal on that date, but edited and shared on my blog a few years later, in 2015. I have reposted the blog entry. At that time, I was not embedding links into my blog, so the main Scriptures here are written into the post itself.

June 27, 2013

I asked Jesus recently that I thought maybe I should see Him in His official role- as He is beside the Father- Papa. Because I was worried that I was getting a little bit of a lopsided view of Him and that this lopsided view might wrongly impact, among other things, my blog writing. Jesus so often reveals to me His humble and gentle heart, and His grief and suffering, but I know He is a victorious and ruling King, seated at the right hand of the Father.

Then I forgot that I asked Jesus this, because I ask Him so many things that I can’t keep track of them all, and some He answers right away, and some He answers slowly.

So last night I went to Him and was caught up in a bubbling rush of love.

You’ve been learning so much, He said and we were talking and laughing, and everything was all run through by this current of love.

“I have! So much!” I replied in surprised wonder, thinking of all the things I had read that day which were teaching me about His love, and then gave myself over to worshiping Jesus in love, because I could do nothing else for some time. Then I was able to notice the room.

“The lights are different,” I remarked. It appeared to be night and the lights in the rooms were brighter and there were more of them. They seemed to be hung from the ceiling and the walls and some seemed to be floating in the air, like fire flies. It was beautiful.

It’s for a festival, Jesus explained, but He didn’t say which one or for what reason.

“It’s lovely,” I replied, and did not ask for more information, as I assumed I wasn't supposed to know.

We were sitting together by then, mostly quiet. Jesus turned His head and looked at me out of His depthless eyes, full of quiet love and perception, and He said, do you want more?

I think I raised my eyebrows in surprise that Jesus was even asking me this question, as the answer is always yes.

“Yes, I want more. Of course I want more. I want more of You all the rest of my life. I want to see You more and more clearly. I’m asking and I’m seeking and I’m knocking,” I said, smiling at Jesus, because those are His words, and they go right to His heart.

And His face grew so clear as I looked and changed in appearance. His face was clean shaven and bright and His eyes were like flames and His hair was white as snow, and His face was shining with joy and confidence and laughter and strength.

“Oh my goodness,” I said, faintly. “You look… that’s so different…”

But I tried to accept it by faith, and so we went on talking but all the time I was caught up in looking at Him and could hardly focus on what we were saying. We were talking again about learning, and I suddenly had to laugh, because it struck me funny, in a delightful way.

“Of course I am learning!" I said to Jesus merrily. “After all, I spend a lot of time with Wisdom! I love Wisdom very much! It would make sense, then, that I should grow at least a little wise.”

Jesus looked down in that way He has, with that beautiful smile that is tender and humble. Even though His face was glowing and beautiful and different, that expression was the same. I said in relief, “Oh, I know that smile! That’s the same!”

However, at some point, I had to acknowledge that this different appearance of His was unsettling me, so I stood up, as though to look at Jesus from a different angle.

As I stood, I saw I was dressed differently, no longer in a simple white robe, but in a long, wrapped and pleated robe that was more formal than before. I only had a moment to notice this because Jesus stood up and He was dressed in heavy, serviceable armor and He held a drawn sword in His hand, and He looked so much like how I always thought an angel might look that I was completely overwhelmed and drew back from Jesus.

“You look just like an angel!” I protested, almost defensively. “This is confusing!"

Jenny, Jesus said, with such tender love. This is Me. You know Me.

“You don’t look like You at all! Where’s Your wounds?”

He held out His hand- the gesture itself one of such humility and generosity- and I came close to Him and took His hand in mine. Jesus did have the nail marks there and He parted His armor at the side and I saw the place where the spear had gone in.

“They’re so deep,” I softly. “But You have wounds even like this?”

I always had the wounds, He pointed out, and I always will, as the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world.

Then Jesus had to explain a whole bunch of things to me- first that He was transfigured and I had seen Him like this before and others have seen Him this way and that it is recorded in the Scriptures.

Don’t you remember seeing me like before? He asked tenderly, reminding me, not in words, but by bringing that experience back into my memory. It had been the first time I had seen His Passion, as though He had opened His heart of suffering up to me. When Jesus was taking me through this, He had been glowing white, beautiful, with eyes of flame, but still with the wounds.

“Well, yes. You did look the same then. That is the same face as before... But what about Your old You? It seems so wrong! I love the old You! I feel wrong, like I’m betraying Jesus of Nazareth! I love Him!”

This filled Jesus to overflowing with golden laughter; it rose up out of Him and overflowed. The laughter flowed through His voice when He spoke.

Jenny. Little one, I am Jesus. I’m the same Person. I just don’t look quite the same. Didn't you just ask to see Me more clearly?

“Well, yes… but I’m just overwhelmed! I’m so sorry!” I cried out, contritely. “I’m doing a terrible job at accepting this. I’m always asking for things that are way over my head and then when You give them to me, I’m not gracious, I’m just afraid. I’m so sorry!"

You’re doing fine, He assured me, His voice warm. You are so quick to trust Me and to learn what I teach you.

I walked up to Jesus and leaned against Him and my love for Him that is constant in me like live coals woke up into flames, as it always does when I am near Him, and Jesus said to me quietly, now do you know it’s Me? Who else moves your spirit in that way?

“Only You,” I confessed. “Only Jesus has ever been able to…”

But again, fear and doubt got in the way. This was because I kept remembering how the dark sometimes masquerades as a being of light. This thought was like a mosquito buzzing annoyingly. However, I remembered that it was possible only by the Holy Spirit to declare the Lordship of Jesus Christ, so I determined I would face my fears that way. With resolution, I took hold of the sides of Jesus’ armor and looked up into His beautiful, tender and joyful face.

“Say “Jesus is Lord,” I said, as sternly as I could.

Laughter rose up through all through Jesus, like bubbling water, rich as gold and resonant with love. His eyes were dancing. This laughter was full of such love that I knew right away my fears were groundless, and that would have been enough.

But Jesus bent down close to me, and as though He were giving me a precious gift of extraordinary, personal love, He said into my ear, Jesus is Lord, His voice still lilting with laughter.

I leaned against Him, smiling, caught up in His humor, because when He laughs, I end up laughing too. “I know, I know,” I acknowledged, made meek. “You, Jesus, are Lord.”

So then I couldn’t stop looking at Jesus, trying to get used to Him the way He was.

“Is something happening? Are You dressed like this for a reason? Are You coming back soon?”

Soon, He assured me, seriously.

Jesus said something else that I’ve forgotten, but the crux of what He said was that serious things were at hand. (When I forget something like this, I assume that it’s on purpose, since the Holy Spirit could easily cause me to remember those words if He wished. If He doesn’t, I assume those are things that I shouldn’t record.)

As I continued to look at Jesus, I found Him just breathtakingly attractive- far more attractive than He usually was. For a moment, I compared His old appearance unfavorably and dismissively to His new appearance and then horror and shame went through me, to think I had been dismissive of His old appearance.

I was so ashamed of this- because how could I not love Jesus, weathered and humbled, more? I thought it was terribly shallow of me- that I would not cherish His humility in becoming human over the brightness of His divine beauty and glory.

I wanted to hide what seemed to be this disloyal and shallow thought of mine from Jesus, but in humility, I drew it out into the open and offered it to Him with open hands, my head down. I didn’t think about assuming this posture, I just flowed into it, as it matched what I was feeling.

Immediately Jesus swept me into His arms in this rush of fierce love and He whispered, I love that about you so much- your willingness to be that deeply vulnerable and that open with Me.

I was a bit shaken by this, in a wonderful way, but as soon as I could catch my breath, I asked Jesus, "What do you want to do?" I was curious, wondering if we might be doing some extraordinary thing.

Generally when I am with Jesus, He does not show me or tell me extraordinary things. We just spend time together, and that is what we did.

However, despite the gift of Jesus’s declaring His Lordship, the fear of being deceived sometimes interrupted this fellowship. I had only been seeing Jesus since early that year, so my faith was still very much in the process of growing.

When my anxiety returned, Jesus said to me, you are Mine. Do you think I would let anyone else come to you? You’re Mine alone. I would never let anyone else sneak in and take My place in you.

As Jesus was saying this, I remembered a part of Scripture about a vineyard:

"When that time comes,
sing about a delightful vineyard!

I, the Lord, protect it:
I water it regularly.
I guard it night and day,
so no one can harm it.
-Isaiah 27:2-3

“You mean that I’m like Your vineyard?” I asked, trying to understand what He was saying. He was speaking with a great deal of intensity.

Yes! He said.

Jesus reminded me of a passage in Joshua- that I should read it, it would ease my anxiety about His appearance, to see Him described that way in Scripture.

I sat up in bed and turned on the light- Keith was on twenty four duty on post that night- and I flipped through Joshua, looking for the passage, my anxiety rising lest I not find it after all, and then I found, in the fifth chapter, this:

“When Joshua was by Jericho, he looked up, and behold, a Man stood near him with His drawn sword in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, Are you for us or for our adversaries?

“And He said, No [neither], but as Prince of the Lord’s host have I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, What says my Lord to His servant?

“And the Prince of the Lord’s host said to Joshua, [a]Loose your shoes from off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy. And Joshua did so.”
-Joshua 5:13-15, Amplified

And wonder filled me. There He was- Jesus!- standing with a drawn sword in His hand, in His position of the Commander of the Lord’s Hosts- the Lord of Hosts, the King of Glory.

I flipped through to the first chapter of Revelation and read the description of Jesus there, but I still found that one hard to connect to yet. Then I read the tenth chapter of John again and was filled with so much love for Jesus, having emptied Himself, humbled and humble, full of passionate love in His heart, and how He said that His sheep hear His voice, but the voice of a stranger they will not follow, but will run from and how no one can take His sheep from His Father's hand.

Then I put the Bible down on the night stand and lay back down and went inward and Jesus asked tenderly, better?

“Yes, thank You," I replied, relieved.

It was only just at this point that I remembered I had asked Jesus to show me how He was at the right hand of Papa, and here He was, clearly doing that.

And everything made sense and Jesus was full of laughter, as I realized this and almost all of my anxiety went away, because of course- how He was appearing to me now was an illustration of how He was beside Papa in the fullness of His victory, His Name above all names, being the Head of all things, holding everything together and bringing forth His Kingdom, which has no end.

In the clarity of that moment, I realized that I could simply be there to see this- I could go to the throne room, where I had been once before, that experience having stretched my poor faith out right to the limit, so that Jesus had had to walk beside me while I went crawling up the stairs as if I had been blind.

But just then, that fear was gone, like a clear sky and all that remained was the knowledge that it would please Jesus very much if I could accept the gift and go through the open door; it was like a standing invitation.

So I went, but I saw first as though I were looking down into this huge, bright, golden space with pillars in the center and a raised space inside the square of pillars, and a golden, glittering floor, overflowing with light. The space around the center square was filled with beautiful persons that I could not see well, and light and laughter and joy and color, everything sparkling.

I knew Jesus, who was beside me, wished me not to hang back, but in faith to go into there, so I obeyed and I was there. Jesus was beside me, in His armor, which no longer appeared simply serviceable. It was of gold and shone at every point as though jeweled and every part of it was catching the light, but also the light was coming from Him. His humility combined with His beauty, and set off by of His love and crowned by His joy, made Him the most irresistibly attractive Person I had ever seen.

People were around us, talking to Him, but He kept me in the curve of His arm and I could hear nothing of what they were saying and I did not dare to look at anyone closely, but kept my eyes mostly on the floor, which was beautifully paved.

Then a creature came up- I couldn’t focus on him at all- I simply could not see him clearly and it was unnerving, but I knew he was dense with power, but kind and gentle in heart. He and Jesus took hands, and I knew Jesus loved him from the look on Jesus’ face.

I have seen a similar expression on Keith's face when he talked about a fellow soldier with whom he has forged a deep bond of unspoken trust and understanding. I had no idea what things Jesus and this being had been through together, but I knew it must have been intense.

Then this person held his hand- or what I assumed was a hand- out to me in polite and kind greeting. This was quite unsettling, but I felt nothing from this being but kindness and I could not be rude to him, despite the fact that, naturally speaking, I would have found him completely terrifying. So I held out my hand and he took my wrist in his grip very lightly and let go.

Jesus knew I was feeling overwhelmed without my having to tell Him, so He tucked me back up under His arm and I felt much better there and kept focusing the floor and trying to pretend that no one could see me.

Once I looked up and into the most beautiful face of a person that I did not know, and they caught my eye and smiled at me. Their eyes were twinkling. I knew just in that glance that this person knew who I was and knew how I was and so, out of love, was pretending to ignore me. Kindness, patience, humility and charity are as natural as breathing there.

The whole time I had been there, I kept turning my head and looking over my shoulder or over Jesus’ shoulder, depending on where we were standing- in order to look toward the lifted place at the center between the pillars. A golden cloud filled that entire space between the pillars and I knew without having to be told that Papa was there.

I kept being frightened at this, and struggling with it, because I knew I didn’t have to be frightened and that it would please Jesus more if I could only move past my fear of the Father. Jesus turned His head toward me and pressed His cheek against my hair and looked down at me so tenderly as I was looking off in that direction.

Then I remembered, with a burst of joy that He wasn’t just called the Father, like an empty title- He was my Daddy. Immediately upon realizing this, the clouds parted and there stood Papa- and He looked just like Jesus in His transfigured appearance- full of joy, laughter, love, vitality and strength, His arms open.

But I was anxious all over again. “No one has ever seen God,” I whispered in Jesus’ ear. “It says that in I John.”

This is because of Me, He whispered to me and I remembered Jesus said these words the night before He was crucified: “Jesus answered, “I am ·the way, and the truth, and the life [or the one true way to have life]. ·The only way to the Father is through me [L No one comes to the Father except through me].”
-John 14:6

I still didn’t understand how I could possibly be seeing God the Father, but I accepted that through Jesus I have free access to the love and presence of Daddy- to the throne of grace.

Thinking on this again filled me with joy, to remember that He really was my Daddy and I was His daughter and so I went running across the golden floor and into His arms and He swept me up close and He took my face in His hands.

He searched my face and I could see that He delighted in me, and that this delight had nothing to do with anything that I had ever done or ever would do- it had to do solely with the fact that I was simply and actually His own daughter - just as my human father would find his heart filled with love when he looked at me, only more so, because Abba is the perfection of love.

However, the sudden expansion of my faith was not a permanent one and in a moment, I fell at His feet, because I could not remember why I had possibly dared put myself before the face of the Most High God or how it was possible that I should be seeing Him.

Abba knelt down close to me, just like Jesus often does when I get overwhelmed with Him sometimes. But this humility on the part of God the Father was too much for me to process and so like a homing pigeon, I went flying back to Jesus.

However, even safe with Jesus, I was focused on regret that I had been unable to do better and that I was not stronger in my faith, and again, I fell down. This is not a choice. I simply end up on the floor.

So then I was on the floor feeling like a failure and very unworthy, feeling sure that I must be deeply embarrassing Jesus in front of all these important people. Jesus was bending down close to me, and He said, My own, you belong with Me by the covenant of My blood and are sealed to Me by My Holy Spirit. Because of this and through this, you know Me and belong with Me. It is natural and right for you to know Me and to always be with Me.

Hearing those words, it was like water as it saturates a piece of paper, or dye as it spreads through cloth. It began to sink down through me how much and how closely I belonged to the Son of the Living God, to Jesus, who in the garden of Gethsemane, fell on His face and cried out to His Father in agony, and yet accepted the cup, and when He rose again on the third day, said to Mary Magdalene, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brethren and tell them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God."

But He has now ascended, and His Father is my Father and His God is my God and I can cling to Him with all my heart, because my life is knit into His Life, as close as flesh and blood, as one spirit- because I am born of His spirit.

The cup of His Passion that He drank to the dregs cannot compare to the joy of the new wine of His Kingdom that He finds in us.

Understanding this, gratitude, love and wonder filled me in such a way that it seemed as though I was nothing but an expression of them. I said, “Thank You for letting me exist, that I can know You and love You this way. Thank You for letting me exist that I might know You.”

Jesus lifted His face and looked across the space to Papa, His face full of love, and He allowed me to hear what He said to Abba- You see how she is- how she has captured My heart.

He swung me up into His arms and carried me across the space and stood beside Papa and spoke with Him, though I couldn’t hear what they were saying.

At first, I was seeing this up close, but then I was seeing this from a distance, so it was as though I were outside of myself looking at a picture. Jesus and Abba were standing together, appearing like two luminous, golden figures standing shoulder to shoulder, but with their faces turned to each other.

Between Them and radiating out from Them and flowing constantly through Their Spirit was a perfect fullness of love, trust, delight and understanding. Their bond went to depths far beyond human perception, so I was only seeing the surface of it, but just that surface was impossibly beautiful and impossible to describe.

My faith and understanding had been stretched way out again and again, and I was about at the limit, so Jesus carried me from the room. We went down the steps outside the throne room- it was night outside, but full of the luminous golden lights everywhere and we went down to a bridge over a slow moving stream and rested our elbows on the stone rail and paused there.

The stream seemed to circle the building, and that was the last straw for me. I poured out all my anxiety to Jesus in a rush of confession.

“But I thought there was never any night there, so how can this be night? And I thought that the stream flowed right down from the throne, so how can this be true? How can I believe this?”

Jesus leaned close to me and put His arm around my shoulder and He said, Little one, it’s not literal. You aren’t seeing this as it is truly is, in it's own expression- it’s not possible for you to know it that way as you are now. What you are seeing are symbols of the living reality, but the symbols are showing you things that are true. That’s how you should understand this.

Then I remembered how in Revelation there are many symbols of spiritual realities, specifically I remembered how Jesus is  described as holding the lamp stands, but they aren’t really lamp stands, they’re a symbol of the churches.

We walked down the city streets and past a fountain and then we went home to the inner room, and soon after I fell physically asleep, but I didn't sleep very well. I kept waking up, filled with incredible wonder, going over and over everything that had happened.

When I woke in the morning, I went right back to Jesus in the inner room.

I said to Him soberly, “You’ve woken me up.”

Yes, He agreed.



July 2, 2013 Journal

So, we are in the middle of an actual adoption and may be placed with a baby girl in September. (That was her due date, but Merissa was born four weeks early, in the middle of August.)

As soon as I heard that date, it clicked. And how many times has it seemed like Jesus referred to my child as “she?” As if He knew! So now, I really wonder.

Hello little mother, He said, smiling, so tenderly.

*

"Verse 13 says, "Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it."

"Thou" refers to the Lord. "The gardens" are plural in number. He is not only dwelling in the garden of the maiden (6:2) but dwelling in many other gardens as well. He is the Lord who dwells in the hearts of men...

"The maiden addresses Him according to this relationship. She says to Him, "The companions hearken to thy voice." The word "hearken" means that everyone is listening...

"But these are listening, they adopt the attitude of a hearer. They know that their lives depend upon the Lord's words and their work depends on the Lord's commands...

"Verse 14 says, "Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices." These words are the same as in 2.17. It is the same prayer, but the things that are referred to are not the same in both cases. This book mentions the wilderness two times, and in the same way, it mentions the Lord's coming as "a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices" two times. The first time on the mountains refers to His fellowship with the believers; it shows His longing for an absolute fellowship with the believers. But then the shadows had not fled and the day had not yet broken, that is, the Lord had not yet come. The emphasis was fellowship. Therefore, we saw Him upon the mountains of Bether; He was clearing away everything that was causing "separation."

"But the second refers to the Lord's second coming. This coming is in the future, and though it may be very near, no one knows when it will be. Unlike the case in chapter two, it does not have a time limit. The matter is not fellowship, therefore, this verse does not speak of the mountains of Bether but of the mountains of spices. It describes the condition of the Lord's coming and His kingdom. At that time, it will be a marvelous world, one like the mountains of spices.

"Then the maiden's experience will be like a drop of water that has disappeared into the ocean; there will be no more room for advancement, though the tide can always go deeper..."

-Watchman Nee, "Commentary on the Song of Songs," Before the Rapture (8:5-14)























Friday, December 22, 2017

Parable of a Glass Window

I am mindful that this post is landing right before Christmas, and I have wondered in what way it might relate to the birth of Christ. There is nothing in here directly having to do with the Nativity. It was written in early summer.

But the Advent season celebrates and marks not only the first coming of Christ, but also directs our heart toward the preparation and anticipation of His second coming, and that is what this blog post speaks to. 

In order to emphasize that I am, in this story, a symbol of the Church, I have written this in the third person. The blog after this will be the last in the backstory. Entering the New Year, I will post whenever and whatever the Lord directs me.


May 29, 2013 Journal

She was with Jesus. She was thinking of all the memories she had of being with Him.

“Remember?” She knew the warmth of His love in being reminded, because He loves her and He never forgets.

“Tell me why. Tell me why," she asked joyfully, as persistent as a beloved child.

You’re My bride, Jesus answered, immediately.

This amazed her. She was able to understand that she was His bride- that’s what it means- it’s real. That metaphor used in the Scriptures is not like a lovely stained glass window hanging up in the light, depicting a scene of surpassing loveliness, of paradise, only to reveal, on the other side, nothing but the other side of the glass.

The Lord does not say that in Heaven there is no marrying and giving in marriage because He is a kill joy. Marriage between the man and the woman made in His own image is His own design, and as such it is a sign of something greater.

There is a substantive and transcendent spiritual reality to this- to be His bride is to be one who belongs completely to Him with willing, joyful surrender, who sees Him, who knows Him, welcomes Him, enjoys just to with Him, adores Him, comforts Him, talks with Him, is at home with Him.

“From when?” she whispered. “Tell me the story.”

She knew how much Jesus enjoyed being asked. He was smiling down at her. I created you to be Mine, He answered immediately. I made you this way.

Wondered and love flooded through her, to remember again that she was created by Him- she was His own creation, created to be intimately loved and cherished by Him. The wonder of it was almost too much.

She thought about how, when He was walking on earth, He could not be with His Church this way, because He had not finished His race; He had not been finished, brought to the fullness, set at the right hand of God. The promise of the Holy Spirit was waiting to be given.

She thought about how lonely Jesus might have been, working hard, but also, she saw how delighted He would have been, to be soaking in each moment, how He must have kept His soul refreshed by moments of beauty all around Him, in the sky, in the way the light fell through the trees or over the roofs and she thought about how sometimes He had lifted His eyes up when He spoke to the Father and how His eyes must have drunk in the clear sight of the sky to refresh His soul, after all the pain and sickness and the loneliness and hurt and brokenness that was around Him all the time.

She thought about how, after Jesus died and when He was resurrected, He was still a living Son of Man, fully human, but now glorified, having in Him all the fullness of the Deity in bodily form, the first of a new race, and how, when He ascended to the Father, that transformation was crowned and He was set down in the place of authority.

So ascending must have been the crowning and perfecting of His incarnation- the knitting together of flesh and blood and Life- Resurrection, Creation, the Divine Light that created everything now living and completed in His body, still marked by His mortal life. So maybe it was like He was sealed- finished. But she couldn't fathom all the particulars of this holy mystery. She was just pondering on them.

But what she knew for sure, was that now Jesus can be so incredibly close to us, His bride, freely giving Himself through His Holy Spirit to each person that receives Him, calling and coaxing everyone to find their place in Him, the place they were created for, so that He might give Himself away to them and they might cherish Him and give themselves to Him in loving surrender, and that there would be no fear or shame between Him and His Bride, that His Bride, through union with their Bridegroom might now be included in the love of the Trinity, the family of God, included in the holy love of God.

Words will be impossible to describe this, but she will try her best. Bringing all this to mind, remembering everything Jesus had done for her and said to her, stirred up her longing for Jesus, which was already simmering. She was desperately hungry and thirsty for His presence; she went straight to Jesus like throwing herself without fear into the sky, because she knows the sky will catch her.

She wanted to rest in who Jesus is, to delight in Him, in being with Him, and she was able to do that. She was able to believe and to know it was Jesus that she was standing before, and she knew that she would see Him so much more clearly on the other side of this life. She knew in a profound and certain way that Jesus Christ is a living Person, and that she would be able one day actually to touch Him and to see Jesus as He is in Heaven, and her longing to reach that point, to be there, broke loose and went careening away.

She flat out begged and implored Jesus to let her see Him like that right then, to bring her through the veil of this life- she did not care and did not stop to think if that meant death, because death meant nothing to her in that moment. She had no fear, only a consuming longing to be with the One who loved her so much and was so good and the heart of all that was good to her.

She wanted to be where she might know Jesus right then, and she begged Him that it would not be required of her to wait the rest of her mortal life to reach that point. This longing was taking her words away. She took His hand in hers. She laid out all that she was, her whole life, all that she had done and known and hoped, the assumptions and wounds and gifts of her childhood and her young adulthood and herself as she was right in that moment, in her physical, outward life and in her inward life. She poured out all this, all that she was at His feet, and she said, "I want to know You, Jesus, as You are. I love You, I want to be with You as You are."

Then she looked at Jesus to see what He would say or do. What she had done had caused Jesus to tremble with emotion. He put His head close to hers and He said in her ear, you have ravished My heart.

She knew how much He loved her, and she knew His grief at being apart as they were then, and His longing also that she should be with Him in the way that she had asked, and so she did not retreat, she implored Jesus again.

She deliberately brought to mind an image He had given to her of Himself, behind a veil, bent over in grief at being separated from her, which at the time, she had dismissed, because she simply could not believe that Jesus could feel so strongly about herself, but now she knew the reality and intensity of His love.

She said to Jesus, “You missed me, You said that.”

Jesus said, It is true, you know it is true.

"You long for me."

All the time, He said. She knew this was true; she could hear it in His voice. But Jesus did not bring her through, and the way she was seeing Him did not change. The second time she begged Jesus like this, He told her that it was not her time, and the third time she begged Him in this way, throwing all the weight of His love at Him, and imploring Him, because He loved her, to take her home, Jesus told her that it was causing Him intense pain when she pulled on His heart that way and said, don't put Me to the test. She took that very seriously.

Then Jesus was walking with her, and then this wind was blowing; it was blowing over her head and through her. She knew it was Jesus and from Jesus, but she held back, and did not let herself be carried by this wind, out of fear, because she was not used to experiencing His presence in that way. Then she let the fear go and trusted Jesus, and He carried her up into the clouds. The way she was seeing this was as though Jesus was wind, and she was wind. Even though she know those are images from Scripture, actually seeing and experiencing this too unnerving and she withdrew from the cloud and returned to the stone room, where she felt at home, and where she felt she could understand things. A moment later, she felt guilty that she couldn’t trust Jesus enough to recognize Him. She confessed her fear, bringing it directly up into Jesus’ presence instead of hiding it, and she leaned against Him.

Jesus said, I am the wind, that is My Spirit- My Holy Spirit.

And after this, at some point, she saw His face and she knew that He was Jesus. She stated with no doubt but with a kind of trembling- “You are Jesus that fed the five thousand.”

This knowledge was washing over her in waves of wonder that was suffused with shyness, that He really was Jesus that was with her, zealous and consuming and unafraid in His love.

Jesus answered firmly, yes and what did you learn about Me? He wanted her to complete the thought.

She replied obediently and for the first time putting all this together, "I am Your flesh and blood, because when You were resurrected and ascended to the Father, He made You the head of the church, which is the fullness of You, which You fill and is Your body, which is Your bride, because the two are one flesh- I am a flesh and blood member of Your living body because of this fullness of being, which is to be Your bride and the dividing lines were brought down in You, we are one as Your body, each one by one, taking their place in You, living members of Your body, and becoming the fullness of You."

Her being able to say all this, to understand it, set Jesus' heart on fire with joy. He whispered to her with fierce love and relief, now you understand.

It was washing over her in waves that she was able to love on and to cherish Jesus- that she was pouring out love on Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus the Son of God. It was all that she wanted and the only thing she wanted and the highest thing she could ever want, because of all that He had gone through and all His suffering and loss- His Passion through which He gained her and that she could love Him to this degree because of who He was and what He had done, in order to make us His bride, His own flesh and blood.

This was creating an intensity of love in her that was in turn causing Jesus a joy that was past any degree of prior experience. Jesus said to her, I died for this. That statement pierced her heart and shook her to pieces.

Jesus said, you’re so precious to Me, you’re My bride, I went through that for this, to be with you, to have you as My own, you’re My flesh and blood, the apple of My eye, My cherished one, I longed to have you so close to Me, I longed for you.

She kept thinking of that verse: "My beloved it is mine and I am His and His desire is toward me," and she kept thinking of how much she loved Jesus and this was making a kind of chorus that was singing in her heart.

Then Jesus began to show her His heart as though He were laying all His cards out on the table. Jesus said, do you love Me with this? And He reminded her that He was only from Galilee- a poor place, a place with no formal education or wealth or position. He was not born into earthly royalty or a priestly family. He did not have powerful earthly family connections.

But she loved Jesus so much, just as He is, just as He came, so she could open her arms to Him and say without reserve, “With that, yes, with that, You Galilean,” she whispered to Jesus, “You Nazarene, yes, I love You with Your poor background and no formal education, I love You.”

And with this? Jesus said, showing her His scars, and how He was worn from labor and had no great or commanding earthly beauty. This made no difference to her at all, in fact she loved Jesus the more for it, so she drew Him close in her arms and she declared, “Yes, I love You, You as You are, I love Your scars even when the sight of them hurts me, I love You, Jesus."

And it was just hitting her so deeply, how vulnerable Jesus makes Himself- will you also leave Me? He had asked His disciples. His heart must have been aching and broken. She thought of how often He was rejected, mocked, made fun of, diminished, denied.

And with this? Jesus said, showing her how His paternity was questioned (this is the link- in my reading, I learned that in this Scripture, when they state that Jesus was the son of Mary, but did not mention who His father was, it was meant as a terrible insult- not only at Himself, but also at Mary His mother. They certainly would have known Joseph, in fact, in other Scriptures it is said that he was presumed to be Jesus' father), how He lived under the shadow of moral judgment from others, considered insane, rejected, whispered about.

But that only caused her love for Him to increase, so she said, “Yes, Jesus. Jesus. Yes, I love You with that, despite that and because of that, with all that You are and lived through and carried, I love You, I love You, I love You just as You are.”

His love was unquenchable and she was able to see into His heart and to see and know how long Jesus had waited for His beloved, His bride, how much He had paid to have her with Him, how His love and longing burns slowly, steadily, never going out, how He is patient, kind and selfless- tenderly concerned with our frailty and never, ever wanting to offend- and instead teaching and leading and coaxing and loving and accepting until the right time when He can pour love in the beauty of perfect trust, the trust of committed, faithful and holy love, and how that intoxicates Him.

And those verses about how God will delight in you like a man over a new bride, just kept running through her head, because of how apt that was, how He was ardent and overjoyed in just such a way.

All her love of Jesus was being gathered together into one unity of love- love from two years ago, when she was first getting to know Him deeply, and love of Jesus when she was younger and hardly knew Him, but loved Him very much, and love for Jesus now, most of all now, after He had taught her so much about Himself, and knowing how we are made to be in union with Jesus, and how this is such a beautiful reflection of how inherently relational God is through the Trinity and how we were created to be this way for Him and through Him and because this is who He is.

And then she said with such happiness, "Shall we go do something?" And He smiled as the joy filled Him and He said what? What shall we do?

And she said, "Anything, what do You want to do?" Jesus replied, as He had so often, I want to be with you. And oh my goodness, they were laughing, delighted as children with their simple, inside joke. She looked at Jesus and the joy! The joy was just overflowing, bubbling up.

For some reason, she was thinking about all the others that hadn’t taken their place in Him yet and this filled them both with grief. She put her arms around Jesus and said that they would take their place, and Jesus whispered tell Me how. Tell Me how that happens.

Even though Jesus knows all things, she knew that He loved to hear her tell Him. She had been learning this just lately. Now she understood this and she was overjoyed at this task, and took her part very seriously.

“Well,” she said slowly, thinking it all through.  “Well, it’s like this. The Father has a plan for salvation and it’s by His grace, so that none will boast and so that all will rejoice with thanksgiving in Him. Right now, some are on the outside, but in the right time, the Father will teach their heart and they will be drawn to You, and You will make them complete and then You will tuck Yourself, with all in You, right back into the Father and then everyone will be one in You, just as You prayed, and the Father will be All in All.”

And the joy that filled His heart! His joy went shaking all through Him; Jesus caught her up in His arms tightly, He said with burning heart, you are the one that consoles Me; you console Me!

She loved that she was; that she could. She recognized that she had been consoling Him, increasingly, in these last few days.

She went to walk to the pool, but Jesus caught her hand and she spun around to look at Him and the joy, the love, on Jesus' face- so lit up, open- such happiness and she went into His arms.

Jesus put His arms around her and lifted her into the air and they fell into the pool and swam and they swam down to the tunnel. She let herself be carried, swept, tossed and tumbled in this breathless, bubbling rush of water and thrown right out the entrance and drop straight down and then stop, right at the surface of the water and then sink slowly the few inches into the water. It was so playful- she was laughing and they were carried by the river and then waded out and then walked down to the shore.

June 5, 2013

There’s so much it can’t possibly be written… But she kept remembering choice. She was free to choose Jesus. So she did. She consciously choose Jesus, knowing He made it possible to choose Him, and therefore experience Him so close, as her true Life, her Bridegroom, the only One who can make her whole, the only One to whom she belongs.

And she remembered that He is God and He will be as He will be- that He is the I Am that I Am and to let Him be God and not to try and make Jesus make sense to her human understanding but to let those mysteries go back into Jesus- to trust Him with what she could not understand.

Also, she kept drawing her mind back to the knowledge that He was Jesus. That she did not have part of Jesus, but that she was truly in His presence, as He told her once, so long ago, that He was with her, that she was with Him and that she was free to express and interact and pour out her heart to Him. I’m with you now, as Jesus had whispered to her once, when she was thinking back about something.

So she choose Jesus and she trusted Him and she opened my heart to the wonderful fact that Jesus was present with her, and she let Jesus be just as He chose to be with her- she gave Him control. At one point He was entirely fire and light and they were whispering back and forth in love, and He was wrapping her up in His wings which were gold and He had turned gold.

Again she realized He was Jesus and she put her hand over His heart. She could feel His heart beating powerfully against the palm of her hand and the knowledge that He was Jesus was going through her like irradiating light, and all that Jesus had done to reach this point and all that He was and her love for Him was rising up and burbling up from with her and she was falling down to her knees.

She said, "Let You be blessed," and she said, "Worthy, worthy, worthy," but she could barely articulate the words and as she said them, she was melting down to the floor and she could hardly move because of the weight of being in the presence of Jesus. He picked her up and cradled her in His arms.

“Jesus, I want to know things…” she said to Him in a sudden longing born from knowing who she was with.

What things? He asked with such tenderness.

“I don’t understand the things You say. Your parables…” But she had such a hard time even thinking and then she remembered one. “…of the virgins,” she said, “the parable of the virgins, the five foolish and the five wise, I don’t know what You mean.”

Jesus had that expression on His face- of generous love, a restful and open listening and she said, “I don’t know what is the oil, why they couldn’t share their oil…” Because that always bothered her. If she could have shared some, she would have. And what if she was the one who didn't have enough, and no one helped her? Why couldn’t they help?

His voice was suffused with peaceful love when Jesus answered. Because it’s their own spirit.

She said, “That makes sense… It’s their own, so they could not share it- this can’t be given from person to person.”

Jesus explained the rest without words, but He said, the wise are full of My Holy Spirit, their spirit and My Spirit are infused with them, so their oil doesn’t run out. The foolish virgins have only their own spirit and it goes out, because eternal life is found in Me.

Which would explain why, at the end of the parable, the bridegroom tells the foolish that He doesn’t know them. Indeed. If they haven’t filled their lamps with His oil- if they are not filled with His Holy Spirit, they would not know Him and their own lights would go out.

“You’re the Life,” she whispered to Jesus. “You’re the Resurrection, You’re Resurrection itself.” And love just went up in flames.

Jesus picked her up and carried her close to His chest down the steps of the pool and through the bushes, bending carefully and shielding her head with His hand as they passed through the bushes.

“You like this, don’t You?” she said quietly to Jesus, with fond love. “It’s in Your very nature to be like this.” Because she was thinking of that verse that says, "He will carry the lambs in His bosom."

Jesus looked down at her, His face and eyes filled with love indescribable, gentleness and humility, as if her words discovered one of the deepest places of His heart.

As they were sitting on the green mossy bank of the lake, she was describing Jesus to Himself- what He had done.

How did I do it? He asked her, very interested in her reply.

And she described to Jesus how He had done everything He had told us to live- that He had loved His enemies and turned the other cheek and given His life and not resisted, that He had suffered hate and violence and pain and that He had suffered His own body to be beaten and tortured and torn and that He had opened His arms and received it and loved His enemies as He told us to do, the entire time, and forgave the entire time and in the end, laid down His Life and that He had this power from the Father, to lay it down and to take it up and then He gave His life over to the Father at the end, gave His life back into the hands of the Father and that the Father did not allow His Holy One to suffer corruption, but powerfully drew Him back up, and that same powerful resurrection life that the Father had drawn the Son up was also in her, so that she would never see death, because she was alive in Him and that He did this to fulfill His purpose.”

What was My purpose? Jesus murmured, so caught up in love, so given over. This current was sweeping away all her thoughts, but she tried very much to grasp at them.

To bring forth…” she began, but she could only speak a few words at a time. “To bring forth life,” she continued, “to be given, to have… to have… Your own… Your church, Your… someone to hold in Your arms, Your own…”

And it was the greatest, most given over love that she have ever known,  ineffable, overpowering, unstoppable, and yet pure, selfless love- love is the wrong word because the word is not enough. Jesus lifted His head and cradling her in His arms against His chest- she was boneless- He lifted His eyes up and she saw His face, as if He overwhelmed by love, so undone by it, as if He had no defenses against His love and His love for His Father for giving this gift to Him. Jesus spoke to the Father as He looked upward, He said, Thank You.

She had to stop, and think about that, but she didn't want to turn her attention from Him.

Think about that, Jesus insisted, the current of love still flowing like a flood tide through His voice.

And she thought- God is thanking God for us.

She said, “No wonder we have to live forever. Forever is not enough time to love on You, to love You, to be in love, to express love.”