Jackie is gone with other family to Nebraska for a wedding today and then she will return tomorrow. So, I'm spending 60 hours alone. Get a feeling like I am counting?
Just broke into this writting right now, with a phone call from her...and she is on a similar track...and having a great time. Nebraska heat in early morning...and I have all the windows and doors open...to welcome and gentle and cool breeze.
Couldn't get to sleep too well last night...and woke up early this morning. Hmm...love the quiet, the time to focus, and miss the friendship, partnership, cooking, normalcy of our life together.....did I tell you we have a king bed?..should have kept my sneakers on.
Made a list of things that needed to be done before I leave at noon to drive to the town in which I will do an assessment of the church...tonight and tomorrow.
So I awoke early...got up and checked off nine things from my list....about that many remain, hey, but not bad for 8:45am.
But I am thinking about partnership....the wonderful rhythm of life that happens as we blend it with a friend...especially a marriage partner.
Can you handle another component?
Read a book this week by Andrew Greely - a Roman Catholic priest - Title: "JESUS a meditation on his stories and his relationships with women" -Forge - 2007.
Both sub statements in the title, caught my eye...and knowing a bit about Greely I got the book. I actually found myself sobbing as I read one section...not too typical for me, but he was so expressing the love of God, that something gave loose in me. Maybe I moved a bit more towards accepting the unconditional and completely irrational love of God....and my need not to perform to be ok. Hopeful.
Also, he wrote to the issue of women in Jesus' life more than I can recall any other. Not as an issue of leadership, or church placement, but as an issue of affection. He dared to say that the women were fond of Jesus and he of them. Travelling with, providing for, lingering at the cross, first at the tomb, first to declare his resurrection. Cited in page after page of the New Testament...mind-boggling for the times.
He dared to say that Jesus would have been an incredible choice for a life partner - if he could have gone that route. Young, muscular, smart, loving, wise (different than smart), good with children, full of surprises, good tradesman, a leader, a truth enactor, an accepter of the broken....and the list could go on and on. Jesus would have been THE incredible partner for married life.
Somehow, the sinlessness of Jesus (which Greely speaks clearly about, and I have always accepted) and the "tempted in all points like us" struggles of life finally came into formation more clearly in my sense of who Jesus is. The artists, Greely maintains, got it all wrong...with the sober, distant, acid-like faces of Jesus and his followers. He recounted many of the parables, explaining the astounding meaning...often lost in the performance orientation of so many of us. My sense of the love of Jesus simply took another wonderful step forward. Heaven got a whole lot more enticing.
(And the first part of the book had some terrific moments in helping me understand freshly how much God is a God of surprises, and lavish celebration...creativity and totally irrational grace. And He actually likes us.
(And there are some pages that made me wince a bit rather than "wow." Greely must be a human.)
So today, I thank God for women, partnership, and surprises.
I thank God for grace, His word, and the revelation of His scandalous love for each of us.
And standing among and above it all
...for Jesus....the Lord and giver of Life.