I Met Jesus
At the Seder Meal a week or so ago I was asked if I would be writing about the snowstorm accompanying this Jewish tradition. I smiled; words had not yet come for this page, but the dance of flakes and swirls of wind-driven white around the big pine sentinel next to the sidewalk certainly provoked ideas. So did the bitterness of the parsley dipped in salt water and the carefully avoided horseradish. Amidst the explanations of symbolism and song I found a spot or two for contemplation, especially as the Seder event drew to closure. “Take and eat….Take and drink….Given for you….” a somber stripping of the altar and the dark silence accompanying the hours prior to Christ’s crucifixion. The message will hammer home in the slaps of echoing pound on nail during the Friday Tenebrae Service. The life journey of Jesus has been tracked for all of us for as long as we have memory. The glory of birth, seemingly wayward moments “in His Father’s house”, baptism, the burden of our sin, and the road to death. Jesus’ white innocence joined us that night, hung from wires and branch, frozen on car roofs and windshields, and pelted into our drives. A Holy Week begun in hopes of spring that steadily drooped into a gloom of “not yet.”
These lines come prior to Easter Sunday sunrise. I slip into the sandals or join the bare feet of those mourning the loss of their Messiah. Perhaps dust puffs with steps, perhaps streaks faces wet with tears of hope seemingly lost. The struggle to hold on to His words joins every thought, the struggle to believe in miracles after watching the horror of His death. I stride with other hearts heaving in a bleak future, with a Joseph so gentle in carrying a carefully wrapped and very dead Savior to an unused tomb. I cringe with the rolled thud of an enormous stone, at the smug of guards posted to ensure no theft and “miraculous resurrection.” This mind’s eye moment begs a question, demands in my knowing the truth in faith of what comes. I feel many things when I write, a gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus rises from His descent to Hell just a day and a half. “Where do I meet the risen Savior?”
Good Friday dawned graciously blue, a sun beamed melt of ice strewn by plows across driveway thresholds. By early afternoon chipmunks and squirrels, robin and chickadee squirted about the yard, onto the feeder – a euphony of joy erasing the cacophony of the night past. A far gentler breeze strokes the lawn, its green bright and filled with life. I cannot miss the contrast, this new life from bleakness just hours ago. I find the symbolism of the scene, walk onto the deck in soled shoes that scuff a bit, and sit on the step. A cloud or two drifts across, small and brief shadows that hint of ascension. Funny how my mind springs ahead, a daylight savings time of slipping through an uncelebrated Easter to the promise of His return. A few feet away, just above my shoulder, five sparrows land, chatter at my presence at their table on which a fat-cheeked chipmunk feeds, little paws stuffing away and tail twitching. The weekend and Easter Sunday hold promise of more warmth.
I lie back, hands under my head in a Walden-esque pose of deep contemplation. The birds don’t stir, unimpressed by my musing and certainly unafraid. They just feed, a joy of sonshine on their lives. I, too feel Him, His sonshine, and meet Him in these times when I allow calm and peace to wrap me like swaddling cloths. Yes, Easter Sunday I will celebrate what happened so long ago. But in the now, I meet my Savior most vividly by just sighing back, just listening. He is Risen.