John 8: 51-59
The last line of this Gospel lesson appointed for today captures my imagination: Jesus said what was to be said, and then “Jesus hid himself…” And it was a good thing he did. What if Jesus is hiding himself from you now, and it’s for your own good? You may be at a point in life when you are unclear about the future: what decision you should make, what direction you should take, what the outcome to such-and-such will be. You don’t know. And you may find yourself searching for an answer, maybe anxiously wondering what you should do, or what will happen? You don’t know. And you may desperately want to know.
Here’s the answer. You know enough. You have as much spiritual direction as you can bear right now. You pray to Jesus, asking for Jesus’ guidance, and Jesus’ response to you is you have enough. Jesus is not going to tell you more now, because you could not bear it. You have enough for now. It’s like Jesus goes into hiding because if you knew what Jesus knows about the path ahead, your path ahead, you would be overwhelmed, or you take a misstep, or you might shy away or run away. So you know right now as much as you can bear.
We read in the psalms, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light upon my path.” Of course, this is a metaphor. What is the metaphor? An oil lamp. An oil lamp with a little wick. An oil lamp does not enlighten the pathway 100 feet ahead, like a huge light you see at a construction site. An oil lamp enlightens only the next step on the pathway. An oil lamp lets you see where you are, and enlightens only the next step.
Presume that what you know now is enough. Live what you know. You don’t need more words from Jesus. You don’t need new spiritual direction. You’ve got it. Presume that what you know now is enough. You could ask, “Is this the discipline of living one day-at-a-time?” I’d say, no. This is living one step at a time. Be where you are. Know that Jesus is with you, with you always – that’s his promise – and live the truth of what you’ve already been given. Be present to where you are, which is where Jesus will be present to you, Jesus’ real presence. And if you have the sense that Jesus is hiding, he’s very much there with you, just hiding because you could not bear to know anything more. Not yet. Live a step at-a-time.
- Psalm 119:1-5
- Matthew 28:20
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