Morning: Psalm 5, 6; Evening: Psalm 10, 11
Isa. 1:21-31; 1 Thess. 2:1-12; Luke 20:9-18
As we try and discern the details of Thomas’ vocation, and I wrestle with these questions of belonging, I have become increasingly convinced that this feeling of living in two places at once is a distinctly Christian feeling. And while I am anxious in many ways for it to pass, I am trying to live with the tensions of this moment.
How did Jesus feel, growing up with Mary and Joseph, knowing in such real and inarticulate ways that he didn’t fully belong? When did he know that he was Other from them? Did his understanding of his deity grow with his stature? We know he had some sense of being more at home in the temple than in Nazareth. How did Mary feel when he explained with child-like plainness: Didn’t you know I was in my father’s house? Did the remark sting? Was she proud of his understanding? Was she just a bit frightened with how to move forward?
House. Home. Belonging. Even as a child Jesus had a sense enough of who he was to stay behind in a place that felt like home to him. How did he live for thirty-three years with the knowledge that he was a wayfaring stranger?
And then another question that puzzles me, possibly even more difficult: when Jesus returned to the father, was he changed by his time on earth? Forty days fasting in the wilderness. Weeping at Lazarus’ death. Raising Lazarus from the dead. Knowing Lazarus was going to die again. It must have been dizzying to be God of the universe inside a human frame, to contemplate human suffering not only from our fragile perspective but simultaneously from God’s. What memory did Jesus have of Godhood while he was on earth? Was his experience of the Father then different after his time on earth?
When Jesus returns to Heaven, is it exactly as he remembered–or has Heaven changed a bit for him because of his experience on earth? Jesus returns to the Father fully God and fully human. Is his experience of Godness forever changed because of his experience of humanness?
Waiting. Longing. Caught between two worlds. We live in this place now where we are caught up in the beauty and frailty of what it means to be human–to have friendships, to love, to suffer. Jesus, when he became man, did all these things. Did he also then feel our same fear of death? Even as he knew what glory lay beyond the grave, even as he lived every day with the knowledge of where his life was heading–he spent a night weeping tears of blood begging his Father to exempt him from the hours ahead. Was it the physical suffering he wanted to skip? The spiritual agony of bearing the sins of the world? Was his humanness afraid of dying… even though he knew death was a gateway to the Father? Or was he afraid of those moments when he cried out to his Father and there would be silence echoing in return?