I have told my kids (on too many occasions) that I would love to see a spy movie in which the main character’s spy skills are demonstrated by the character’s thorough-going appearance transformations.
He would become she, young and handsome would morph into old and frail, fat to thin, and tall to short…by assigning entirely different actors to play the part in unbroken succession.
Then it occurs to me that is what Jesus did–He came in disguise. Clues for this theory are in the Gospels–the transfiguration (why take only three disciples?), the times when He prohibits the healed from blabbing about their transformations, the healing of Jairus’ daughter (again, only three disciples?) and then those times after His resurrection when people don’t recognize Him.
God in disguise.
It makes sense when you see Him described in other places in the Bible. Excuse my French, but Jesus in His “real form” is unmistakably bad-ass.
Which brings me to the most haunting part of this story of voluntary disguise.
The Lord of glory, Creator of the universe, Beginning and the End, Lion of the tribe of Judah, naked, eviscerated, gasping on the Cross.
My death. This is the purest place for me to see who I really am–the person who deserves this terrible end.
He wraps Himself in the vortex of hell to give us access to heaven–undisguised.
With the exception (perhaps)
Always the symptom, the result, the flood
So when He says these things about light
They would have been connected in a way we are not
With the pure physical fact–
Where there is light
I have been working through the power of two ordinary words–insubstantial and last.
Sometimes the forms we use to write can seem arbitrary or essential–poetry might be either feint or love song, prose the empassioned plea or the ordinary transmission of thought.
So to have two words with such strong ties to poetry and be stuck in prose seems remedial.
Remedial. Another place to dwell in the in-between.
Last is powerful.
It is either the end or the enduring.
While insubstantial could be a sum of cash, a minor wound, a flimsy shelter in the wind.
Or it could be the kite by which we see the strength of wind.
The papery thin construction of human meaning.
The space of a commercial on tv.
I will still abide with these two words, still puzzle over their highest use.
Prose until I can adequately distill ordinary nourishers into
after years measured in either sabbaticals or fists
The woman in the box
Realizes she has only been an apparition
Sorting through previous
Versions of “her”
She sees one to nurture–
No lines around the eyes or heart
An ordinary girl
Who believed in human intervention
Fragile thing, scoops her up
Just a bird in the hand;
Looks for a place to set her down
If only to assess
the utility of wings
My son tells me his fears and I tell him mine are remarkably similar–fear of the tragic loss of love.
Sometimes he and I get to the end of an ordinary day and he says our crew is still together, Mom.
We are citizens of a dangerous and lonely kingdom.
But only because the true King travels in disguise.
He is this magnetic force–scarred forever by his tragic love for us, hole in the chest and again in each Vitruvian extremity.
Stranger at the party.
You should get to know this guy. His words and actions may seem either simple or radically divisive, but His gaze is irrevocable.
He is the perfect older brother, fierce in both love and justice. When I dread this fallen world I turn to Him.
Knowing He will never fail.
Imagine them as you will but never
Assume your scepticism will make them
In the smoke of our discarded daughters
/commerce of indifference
Shoots craps in crowded rooms
Sweat-palmed cash for common shame
Monsters of righteousness
From this fire we
have made of love.
As much as I feel like I have won the lottery when I go to Walmart and snag a short checkout line, I have a pocket full of unforgettable stories that only happened because I had to wait in a monster line.
Last night I did not have to wait and got the story too.
I asked my cashier if Father’s Day was a busy day. She said not too bad but that Sunday after church is no picnic.
Apparently some of the church crowd can be a little preachy and impatient, lecturing the minimum wage employees of megastores on how they should not work on Sundays and…goose things up and move the line faster.
While she and I commiserated on the hypocrisy she very efficiently checked through my groceries, including a bundt cake. The customer next to me exclaimed toward the cake–
Unlike our often fussy, judgmental, loveless brand of Christianity, the bundt cake was unmistakable inviting.