Path of Restoration
by Marjorie George
“Don’t I know you?” she asked. I had to admit the face was familiar. We ran down the list of possible connections. Did we go to the same church? No, she didn’t go to church much anymore. Did we shop at the same grocery store? No, she lived in a different part of town from me. Wait a minute; was she Eric’s mom? Were our kids on the same swim team back in 1981? Yes, that was it. Mystery solved.
“You think you know me,” Jesus said as he taught the Jews in the temple courts. “But you can’t know me if you do not know God” (John 7:28). And the converse is true: we cannot know God if we do not know Christ.
Do you remember the disciples back in Chapter 6 of John? When the crowd deserted Jesus because his theology was getting a little intense (“I am the bread of life; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have eternal life . . .”), the disciples stuck it out. “Do you want to leave also?” Christ had asked them. No, they did not.
Why? Why did the disciples stay with Christ; why did they trust him? Why were they willing to go further with him when the crowd was not? Same message; same messenger – some left, some stayed.
I think it is because by spending time with Jesus, the disciples had come to know him. Knowing him, they trusted him. Trusting him, they stayed the course with him. It’s really a very simple equation: If you want to know Christ, you have to spend time with him.
We are in the fifth week of Lent. Holy Week looms. The plot thickens; the going gets tougher. And then the resurrection. If ever we are going to commit, now is the time.
But no weaseling here; getting to know the Christ requires some effort on our part. Back on Ash Wednesday, we said we would spend more time each morning reading Scripture and meditating. But we didn’t set the alarm clock to get up a half-hour earlier. Did we think Jesus would drag us out of bed and douse us with coffee? He won’t.
We are not bad; we are broken. That is our nature. Our good intentions frequently do not make it to the point of application. We feel appropriately guilty for a while, then we move on. We want to do better; if only someone would tell us how. If only someone would give us a list.
Well get out your iPhone calendars or your leather-bound day planners and make a note: get involved in Holy Week. Read the daily lectionary, walk the labyrinth, participate in Stations of the Cross, go sit in your garden or someone else’s garden. Sign up for a daily meditation; attend Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. To get started, here’s a list; but you can add your own ideas.
Get to know Christ. He already knows you. Your face is familiar, and he has not forgotten it.
Marjorie George is editor of ReflectionsOnline and Reflections magazine. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.