Teacher, where do you live? Come and see.
My back stiff from sitting and reading, I pulled on my boots to take a walk. I thought it would be a good time to stretch my aching muscles and to pray. “Jesus, what do you want from me?” I asked as I hiked toward the pond out beyond the meadow. “Do you want me to be more virtuous? To pray more?”
“I’m not asking for virtue or more prayers,” Jesus answered me from behind. I turned around and waited for Him to catch up with me. When He was by my side, I started walking again.
“What are you asking?”
“I’m asking you to be the fully realized person you came to the planet to be,” He explained. “
“What do I need to do to do that?”
“Live where I live,” Jesus answered.
“Where is that?”
“Come and see,” He said quietly, His eyes shining with a light so radiant that I had to close my own. I realized at that moment that He wasn’t talking about a physical place. He was inviting me to dwell in the Kingdom Of Heaven. He was inviting me to take on His Consciousness.
“I will,” I said, my eyes filling with tears from an emotion I couldn’t name.
Jesus stopped and stretched out His arms, much as He did on the cross, and then wrapped them around me so tightly that I didn’t know where He ended and I began. It felt so sweet and tender I didn’t want it to end. “Don’t let me go,” I begged.
“I’ll never let you go, Sparrow,” He whispered. Gently, He wiped the tears from my face. “I’m here with you, always.” We walked the rest of the way to the pond connected by our hearts and our love.
There were in all about twelve men.
“What if you didn’t know the end of the story?” God asked me as I sat sipping my morning cup of coffee. “Would it make a difference?”
“The end of what story?” I asked.
“The story of Jesus. Early on, His disciples didn’t have proof that He was the Son of God. HIs crucifixion and resurrection had not yet taken place but they followed Him. Would you follow Him as they did?”
“I’d like to think that I would,” I answered.
“He was a rebel, remember. He came on the scene and taught things no one had ever taught before. He even broke the law and taught on the Sabbath. He turned so many things upside down. How would you know He wasn’t a troublemaker or a fraud? How would you know to trust Him? To follow Him?” God inquired.
I thought long and hard about my answer, searching my heart for my truth. “I’d like to think that I would recognize Him. That something in my heart would cry out to me, and I would know Him,” I said.
“That’s where to meet Him, every day,” God said gently. “It is there, in that knowing, in that heart-to-heart connection, rather than the proof of who He is, that fills you with His Light. That connection is the wellspring from which He pours Himself out for you.”
I put down my coffee and walked to the window to admire the dusting of snow covering the meadow. It was already melting in the warmth of the sun. “I’ll meet Him there every day,” I promised as I watched the snow turn into pools of beautiful clear water, knowing that even they couldn’t compare with the living water God offers.
In him, all things hold together.
My mood was as gloomy as the rain-soaked morning. A heavy fog had settled in overnight, painting the meadow a depressing gray. I put another log in the stove and resigned myself to a day indoors.
“Why are there so many contradictions in life, God? How do I cope with it all?” I asked rather dejectedly.
“My Son answered that question,” God replied.
“On the cross. He carried all the world’s suffering and allowed Himself to be transformed by it with His resurrection. He showed you that if He could hold all the contradictions in life, you could too. Remember, His death on the cross taught you to not project your pain onto others, creating scapegoats or enemies. He taught you to not stay trapped in your pain. You can hold all the contradictions and allow them to transform you, with love, just as He did.”
“But it’s so hard to do sometimes,” I confessed.
“That’s why you pray. That’s why you walk closely with me,” God answered lovingly. “That’s what Jesus did.
“It’s a big lesson to grasp on a wet morning,” I replied.
“I’ll sit with you and open your eyes and your heart so that you understand,” God answered.
Movement in the meadow caught my eye. A flock of birds had descended on the feeders, happily pulling sunflower seeds from the long wire cage. How beautiful they were against the backdrop of the ominous sky.
“Yes, please help me to be more like Jesus. It may take me a lifetime but I’m willing to learn.”
God rested His hand on my shoulder and the lesson began.
Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.
Sitting under the bare branches of the pear tree on a gray morning, I pondered the meaning of life. “What’s it all about, God?” I asked.
“It’s simple. Be like nature. Serve others,” God replied.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Nothing in nature is there for itself, it is there for others,” God explained. That pear tree you are sitting under doesn’t grow pears for itself. It grows them for others to eat.
It began to rain and I rose to make my way back to the cottage. “Even the rain doesn’t fall for itself, it falls for those that need water to drink,” God said as He walked with me.
“I’ve never thought of nature that way before,” I replied. “How shall I serve?” I asked.
“Start by loving,” God said gently. “You can’t serve unless you love.”
I looked back over my shoulder at the pear tree. “Does it love?” I asked.
“Very much,” God answered. “For it is full of me.” He smiled and opened the cottage door for me. “After you,” He said.
“Thank you,” I replied and realized that God is something I can never fully understand for He is both master and servant. I walked in and shook the rain from my hair. “Let’s go sit by the fire,” I invited. And of course, He accepted.