I once heard someone describe the work of a professional firefighter as days of sheer boredom interrupted by moments of total bedlam. The body’s emergency system introduces huge injections of adrenaline and is just one of the amazingly intricate responses God has designed to maneuver through and overcome sudden circumstances. The fire station alarm, demanding all hands immediately on deck. The sudden loud crash at home in the middle of the night. A high-pitched scream shatters the quiet and it is incredible how fast we can go from quietly reading a book to racing down a hallway toward the source of our alarm (or away from it, depending). Some planned events require mega doses of adrenaline, too, like weddings and formal dinners and organizing surprise parties and moving household. The aftermath of these emotionally saturated events is usually exhaustion as the body goes about restoring balance, calm, synchronicity to all its recently overworked systems.
Back to Jesus’ disciples and their adrenaline-pumping days. The Thursday arrest, the all-night trial and questioning and prevaricating, the mockery, the beating, (their mind-numbing fear), Friday’s condemnation and crucifixion, Jesus’ death and burial, the bleakest, near-interminable Sabbath, Sunday’s news of the empty tomb and wild rumors of his having risen to life, resurrected of all unbelievable things! Then his appearing to two of the disciples trudging along the road to Emmaus, his revealing himself then suddenly disappearing! And later that evening showing up (not coming through a door or window, just appearing like a ghost!) in the room where they were locked away in hiding! It was all too much, way too much! Their entire world was spinning. Were they hallucinating? Dreaming? Had they gone mad? Was any of this real? All their bearings, their landmarks, the sure things, the normal things, had been displaced and this new ‘existence’ felt nightmarish, surreal. It was only with the greatest effort they could begin the arduous task of processing all this.
Now back to 2022. We’ve just celebrated yet another Resurrection weekend, reading and listening to the story we’ve heard so many times. It’s a fairly simple thing to accept the historical facts of this story, to empathize with all its characters, to feel their disjointedness. But more challenging is the willingness to lay aside our need for control, our rugged individualism, our sense of invincibility, our ‘I’ll do it myself!’ silliness, our “I’ll just try harder’ foolishness, and simply surrender to the staggeringly beautiful thought that we were, and are, Jesus’ only goal, his highest prize. As we ponder our prayer journey of the past six weeks, the extensive exploration of God’s intimate love for us, I’d like to encourage us to spend extra time soaking, marinating in, relishing the world-upending truth that Jesus chose, deliberately, to die – for you, for me. ‘Love Divine, ALL loves excelling!!’ PD