Written on April 17, 2017. By Shari Norvell
The past few mornings I have been awakened by thunder. That which passes from sound to sonic and booms through you, causing you to shimmy slightly from one place to another. Digging deeper into my warm, snuggly bed, beneath strong roof and between sound walls, I tried to imagine what it was like for those without shelter and shield of the crucifixion’s elements. With battle swaying and swelling around them and thunder pitching and plunging them deeper into the story that had an early telling. One they had each read but didn’t have the strength to see was being told, lived, not just before them, but with them.
Nearly a week of nights ago now, I reached the culmination of my preparation for Passover. As the hour of His Gethsemane approached I was acutely aware of His alone. I was desperate then, to stay with Him all night. I just needed to be near on a night so far away. Slumber came and went even as desperately as I darted away. But between the nods and winks, I had the most incredible night with Him. I swept the sweat from His brow and caught His tears in my hands. I layed upon His feet wrapped myself around His shoulders. As best I could, I guarded Him with each beat of my grateful heart.
In that Garden I saw He wasn’t awaiting crucifixion, though the act of it was yet to come, but was in the process of being crucified. Yielding, grieving, dwelling in the deepest of valley, looking towards joy that would not fully be seen until He was raised up to a clearer view. And clinging not as much to His “yes” but the One He gave it freely to.
Surrounding Him were those that He desired to be with Him. They were there but could not be with Him because they were suffering their own crucifixion. For this all looked different than what they had dreamed. Wasn’t He the mighty warrior coming to war on their behalf, making their current life better? They couldn’t yet see that He was there to save them forever, not just for a day, month or year. They felt betrayed, abandoned, rejected and misunderstood. They had followed Him for their version of the story, the way their finite hearts had determined it must be for it to be real or true. They questioned and accused, filling the atmosphere with it. And Jesus wept. He grieved.
He chose. To let everyone of those accusations fall upon His skin, His flesh. That which would be torn apart because those accusations existed. It wasn’t until He let all their missed marks, brokens and blemishes be torn away, that they began to see. He had so much more than temporal. He held eternity. All the poetic parables and confusing conversations began to make sense. They saw that He took all their versions upon Himself, so they would have room for the always intended. The more than could be dreamed version to be resurrected.
They weren’t cast away because different seemed dark. No, they were invited right into the real story and they said yes. They let him repaint, reconfigure, remodel and reintroduce them to what Heaven truly held. A few sleepless nights later, resurrection came. Isn’t it something that when He was gone, they couldn’t sleep, yet when He was there, awake eluded them? Even so, they began to live the true story, the one they were created for. That which has been told for generations. They didn’t get what they felt they were guaranteed. Instead they were glorified to more than they knew was possible.
It is here, in the perfectness of all He has provided, I recognize that which I would rather not see. There are many times I go to the garden with Him, in order to keep him there until my version blooms. I plant and prune though His promises are those which I didn’t plant and will simply grow if I let them. If I stop excavating and extracting to make sure something is truly happening beneath the dirt and dark of what I cannot see. Yet.
Sometimes I don’t want to take up my cross and follow. When I don’t know where He’s going. I would rather wait in the dust of death than be lifted to life. And He goes to the cross again. When I won’t yield, He gives. Everything. He chooses the cross again, my cross, so it becomes a real part of my story – not just a piece of the past.
Many feel crucified right now. Hearts slain. In gardens of our design, unyielding to the gift of the cross. We just don’t know if we can make it to the cross afterall. Yet the cross isn’t a piece of wood in a field, it is within us. He placed it there through His death, so we would have life.
Living often means placing our version upon that cross deep inside. For we are His daring disciples of this day. These moments matter because there is a monumental difference between living and resurrected life. Resurrection appreciates that “with” is an ongoing, never ending, perpetual pursuit. And when we struggle to carry the cross, He climbs upon it and is opened up anew, so visibility comes to that which we could not see.
Different distracts us to think what is before us is wrong, but it really just hasn’t had the chance to be resurrected yet, for we haven’t put it on the cross. Yet He waits with us in our gardens. He stays awake and prays. He fills our atmosphere with love and truth, light and hope. And we remember that He is good. And that He came, so we would live. Full throttle, on the edge, tipping the scales lives.
Our covenant this week is “Resurrected” so we are letting Him reveal to us those places in us, the things of our heart that we haven’t let live because they looked different. And we’ve asked Him for resurrection. Do the same this week!
Let Pappa reveal someone who needs a “resurrection” of being seen. For Shabbat take them a dish, a dessert or something pretty for their Shabbat table. Feel free to be anonymous if you would like. Just leave it for them in time for their Shabbat.