I have always marveled at the risk involved in the parable of the lost sheep. In fact, I can actually see the economists in the crowd shaking their heads and coming up to J. afterwards and trying to convince him that it just doesn’t make sense.
One lost sheep? Who is gonna watch the others?
I have a tendency to worry about all the sheep. What if there are wolves? Wolves stress me out. But J is unswerving. He leaves the 99 and goes to find the one. lost. sheep.
Of course he knows some secrets.
Like: the 99 are actually supposed to watch out for each other.
Like: a few stubborn jackasses in the flock help keep the wolves at bay.
Like: I am the one lost sheep. You are the one lost sheep.
We are all lost without him.
For J every last flipping one of us is that solitary-witless-easily-confused-fluffy-lost sheep.
Sometimes the only thing one needs to do to be found is to admit that one is lost.
After a solid fudging week of losing thumb wars to the god of grief I decide to change my stance.
Fine, I say, keep me up if you want, but we are going to do this together.
Make no mistake. He is not my friend. He is the quiet satellite tech on the slow train north. He is the Russian student who used to try to beguile me with roses and sweet talk. He is the dark standing just shy of sunset. All these years I have avoided his gaze, pretended I didn’t notice him at the same parties, never wailed and pummeled his dark, cold chest.
You win, I say, snake hole, only to realize he hasn’t, can’t because You have already–no matter how many days to resurrection.
They say that JC fought hard until he saw Brutus among his assailants. How well-thought-out is death by a thousand cuts? And would it matter to us if he had called him child in the dying hour? These are my ides-of-March musings, as if we were not warned he was the god of war, not love hanging over us. I do small calculations–how old was the world when Julius Caesar died? How long until that other kind of King? Easter is coming, sure as each sign of spring, but there has never been a resurrection without some kind of dying first.
When Billy Graham died there was a minor brouhaha about a young woman who wished him fun in hell.
Whatever you or I may have thought about BG, he was an unabashed Eternalist. Stephen Hawking was not.
It is my belief that they both are now.
Which reminds me of a story…
A long time ago a rather counter-cultural day laborer was executed by the Romans apparently for some sort of political expediency.
His rag-tag followers were devastated (naturally), until a few days later when he came back from the dead and started appearing to people!!! (Rather supernaturally)
Although not initially to Thomas, a contemporary Aramaic friend of his, or Stephen Hawkins, a science-type from the 20th century B.C.E.
But after a bit,* he fixed this by showing up. For Thomas it came in the 20th chapter of the Good News of John. For Stephen it happened today.
Worship science all you want, or money or sex or power or fear.
But on the day we die we all turn into Eternalists…regardless of whether the science was every really on our side or not.
John 20, 21
The disembodied woman on the late night public radio station compares colors we cannot see to the notes we cannot hear in the full spectrum of light shaken by wind, the tree next to the street light makes a shadow puppet barn owl with its bare limbs alive, snow-globe present in this river of sky the color of a song sung by invisible voices, if I believed in ghosts you are there, touching my shoulder blade reminding me we all live forever somewhere, shiver down spine no word for this beautiful mammalian
1. Take off your shoes
2. Acknowledge holy ground
3. Expect an uncomfortable sense of awe
4. Hear (O) Israel
I have distilled what I have left of hope for
You and me
I used to think you were home