Thanks Dustin Miller for sharing these reflections at Cincinnati Mennonite.
6 word summaries of this story
Secretly travelling, death and resurrection foretold.
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.”
1. Foretelling death, a doctor delivering bad news
That six months might be all we get.
Or a realization, in a split second that could be our last
That we will die.
Reconciled to the possibility, of both living and dying,
that in giving up the ghost
we might find the only way to resurrection.
Your friends ignore the fact,
that you are once again
speaking in third person.
He teaches, they argue, corrected again.
But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest.
2. A classroom empty except for a bare desk
Like that of a substitute teacher
And a black worn out chalkboard that screams
“The levy didn’t pass again”
The teacher Sophia
Again rambles on about a subject not unlike
Whether Faulkner and Hemingway might have been
friends if the circumstances were different
A scuffle in the back of the room
Or the side, I don’t remember
The teacher ignoring as she finishes her thought
Writing on the wall with her back turned
As the final bell rings she pulls
Aside the group of boys walking out together
Say, what was that all commotion about?
Just arguing about the point
Of the Great Gatsby.
Understanding atonement often leads to questions.
Mark 9: 32
But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.
3. Was that satisfaction or penal substitution you ask again?
I respond that I don’t understand the question.
Bearing the curse of man’s failure
Is enough of a workload for three days.
“I never saw it that way” I say
“Christus Victor always seemed to fit my view
That the evil in the world was conquered
By offering a new alternative.”
But what about the sacrifice, what about God’s need
For God to be made whole?
Could it be that it doesn’t fit, doesn’t work
I think I’d leave that up to God.
“If we were created in God’s image,
then when God was a child
He smushed fire ants with his fingertips
And avoided tough questions.
There are ways around being the go-to person,
Even for ourselves,
Even when the answer is clear,
Like the holy water the gentiles would drink
Before they realized,
‘Forgiveness is the release of all hope for a better past.’ “
-Borrowed from Buddy Wakefield, Hurling Crowbirds at Mockingbars (Hope is not a course of action)
Upside down thinking, last is first.
He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”
4. Dancing to the silence
And walking against the wind instead of with it
Where does the beauty lie
In a confused world
Going against my every instinct to
Be the first in line to see my favorite band
Over the Rhine, only to be sat near the back
In some sort of reverse wedding recession
The sock lint and flip flop marks I’ve seen
On feet of those who bend to wash my mine
As I wash theirs, the action reconciling
Making all things new,
Awkwardly sealed with a Holy kiss
Or simply enjoying the fall leaves instead of
Gathering them up, allowing the rake to lie
Unused, letting them decompose
Only to bring life again
Attempting to figure out some way
To redemption, my God!
In a world that needs an end
When the action has already happened
We only need remember
Little children are welcomed, greatness redefined.
Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
5. Holding Lillian, or Ainsley, or Gracelyn
In my arms
Reminds me that the world is not too
Far gone for the beauty of a child
Or the smell of the head of a baby
Is it too much of a stretch
That this skin
That these fingers and toes,
Aren’t the kingdom of God
Who wouldn’t want to welcome these?