A Movie Pick For A Holy Week

I was going to wait for the DVD, but I’m so very glad I didn’t . . .

The movie choice was left to my girlfriend, it was her birthday and it was my treat. The Conspirator was at the top of her list and at the bottom of mine. Normally I would have been bit-chomping to see a period film – I heart period films BIG time – but Rotten Tomatoes had only rated it a 55% – which equals “rotten” by their standards. (Me and Rotten Tomatoes quite often end up disagreeing about our movies, but I still wait for the DVD if the rating is pretty low.)

Who would have thought that the perfect movie to see before Easter would be a drama about the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln? It doesn’t all come together until the last sentence in the last frame before the ending credits, but come together it does and it puts you so in mind of salvation and everything Easter that you just cannot move for a while.

And four little words become my litany, spoken from my heart all the way home:  ”I am that son.”

I won’t tell you “why” because my descriptives would spoil the power and poignancy of the movie.

Just go see it.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LzovRI4zig]

A beautiful and blessed Holy Week to you.

Love.

A Little “bit” Of Jesus – 10

Matthew 11.6 “Blessed is he who takes no offense at Me.” ~ Jesus

My life has felt like a slow-walk around the figure of Jesus. Like I’m purchasing goods and want to know that the product is agreeable. Except, Who purchased who? Now there’s a strange paradox. He paid for me, but I have to take Him home.

But, the reason I slow-walk is not so I can size Him up. No, I just want to see Him. Oh, I want to see Him.

I’ve been around His body a few times, looked Him over one side, down the other, examined the lines criss-crossing His carpenter-rough palms, deep-inhaled the fragrance of His hair, caressed my fingers over the contours of His face, traced emotion lines from forehead to eye corner, knelt low before His feet so my vague vision could catch a glimpse of His travel-worn callouses, laid softest hands full-open to touch the torn skin of His back . . .

Every element of His person I really and truly behold with my senses, looks and feels like a parallel experience that I have lived through with Him – side to wounded side – and genuinely caught chest-deep comprehension for.

That one year we fought 365 days to save our marriage, looked a lot like broken skin to me.

This year, we lost our home and it feels a lot  like a travel-worn callous.

Thank-you, Jesus, for Your laugh lines through it all.

I know that I have missed countless details, but I also know that I get many, many, many more rotations around the Son. I look forward to the circular journey even though all my historical evidence proclaims that I will be pressed and pushed and pulled apart by the process. I look forward to it because I become to look like Him more and more  - complete with loving eyes, broken skin and dirty feet – and I think He’s just The Unbelievable.

These thoughts pulse in my heart when I read a Jesus-quoted verse in Matthew, “Blessed is he who takes no offense at Me.”

“All these revolutions, all this viewing, all our experiences together, and I still can’t find anything offensive about You.

Mine.

Jesus, holy and wild Christ.”

I do not consider it offensive that the proclaimed God of the universe, Savior of the world was born in a feed trough, grew up in “nothing good can come from there”, was raised a carpenter’s Son, preached good news to the poor when everyone knew He was the poorest of them all, picked His clothes out of the Goodwill leftovers, washed the feet of His subjects like He was their servant, told the poor they were rich and the weak they were strong, professed the persecuted to be blessed and the meek that they would have the largest inheritance, told us to love our enemies and become like dirty-faced, bubble-gum chewing children – of all things.

“The blind receive their sight

and the lame walk,

the lepers are cleansed

the deaf hear,

the dead are raised up,

and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

And blessed is he who takes no offense at Me.” Matthew 11.5-6

You do look like an absurd and sacred Joke in the world full of systems and equations – You don’t “fit” – but I cannot take offense at the strangeness of You. I cannot take offense at Your paradox-ed gospel. I cannot take offense at what You’ve done to me each time I turn circles around Your anatomy, around Your life.

“No, Jesus, the offenses You are known for, are the reasons I keep walking loops on the outside of You . . . to get to the inside of You.”

A Little “bit” Of Jesus – 9

I performed mental war over the decision to write about what happened in the early part of my day today. I don’t want to expose this small story because I feel very ugly in it and nobody likes to feel ugly in front of other people. My mind played the litany time and again, “This isn’t how you usually are, you don’t need to tell anybody . . . ” Well friends, you get my “ugly” in this post. Now, excuse me while I go put my head under a blanket – it’s about to get embarrassing up in here.

This morning I was making my merry way to the dairy farm to pick up our weekly order of raw milk when The Unexpected dropped into my day. And sometimes when He drops, He drops hard.

My eyes were drawn to a male biker pedaling alongside my car. As I was halting to a stop light, he rode his way up in front of me to wait for the left arrow signal to flash green. A second later, he turned his helmet-wearing head to one side and I noticed from his profile that I knew him. The exact internal words were, “Hey, I know that guy!” Immediately following the awareness, my brain mentally catalogued the three times I had met this twenty-something dude. What I couldn’t escape was the acute sensation that I had done him wrong in my thoughts and feelings at each encounter, not in any way that he would notice, mind you, but in ways almost nastier for being secret in my heart.

I thought he was weird, that he wasn’t the coolest person at the party, and I didn’t want to get to know him . . . because I didn’t have time.

Here sits a woman with a forked heart.

What shredded me most, was the unexpected sentence that slammed into my skull right on the heels of my remembering. Five little words to break the dam behind my eyes, to roll salty-wet down my face . . .

You don’t know his name.”

I’ve encountered him three times, traded niceties because that’s all I would give and I never bothered with his name because somehow, someway, he wasn’t worth my effort.

I broke wide and cried hard and the road became a blur in front of my watering shame.

Over and over I verbally mourned, “I don’t know his name. I don’t know his name. I don’t know his name.” And truly knew the brokenness of my self.

Oh, Jesus. My mind always goes to Him at times when I’m cracked up one side and broken down the other. Nothing heals me back together like an image or a memory of who He was and is and is to come.

As my car tires covered highway to the farm and my waning tears dried tracks on my skin, an image comes and I remember the One whose ways are not my ways and I can see His love-full eyes searching through the haphazard crowds only for the weird and un-cool, the whores and scarecrows, tax-collectoers and misfits – just so He can tell them that He knows their name.

I would do anything to go back and stare this guy full in the face and learn his name, hear his story. I can only go forward. And my prayers are firm that Jesus would sew any divisions in my heart with the loving evidence of His name calling and misfit knowing.