If I Close My Eyes…

If I close my eyes, I can see it.

Joseph dancing in the back aisle, joy moving his limbs in awkward cadences to the words … Our God, you reign forever. Our Hope, our strong deliverer….

His feet dangling out the back of the pew after he crawled under it…

The way he draped over me, head hanging down to the ground, and then curled up all fetal like knees to nose head on my lap…

The thumbs up he gave after taking communion for the first time…

Clara sketching next to us, flowers, girls, the chalice and the bread and the words of command and institution…

Her glances to check in… is Mama crying… again… in church…

The mom in front of us with 3 children wrapped around her…

The flickering candles on the wall…

If I close my eyes, I can see it.

In the moment, it seemed embarrassing and funny and soul-crumbling all at once. Me, a piece of fabric, wadded in a ball, stomped on by two beautiful angels bent on sabotaging a moment in time and in space. Joseph kicks as he squirms down to the ground, he butts his head against his sister who complains like a squeaky door. He is heavy, this growing boy who can’t for the ever-living life of him sit still. Ever. Even in sleep….

But I don’t want to take that joy from him. I don’t want church to be all rules and sitting up straight and not making a noise because that is not how God meets us, in the straight and narrow, in the clean and pure and well-manicured.

But when Joseph asked me, “Can I take the bread and the wine?” I hesitated and reviewed the rules. Rules I wasn’t sure about for our current church. Rules.

Well, why? I struggled to understand why he was interested.

And out of the mouth of my babe came, “Because it is Jesus’ body and blood. He told his friends to eat it to remember him.” If my growing, squirmy man-child knows this, then there are no rules to follow.

Because God doesn’t meet us in the rule-following, but in the heart-calling.

The heart-calling.
“Let’s imagine Jesus washing our feet.” This is the call from the front.

If I close my eyes, I can see it.

A basin. A towel. The base of the cross in the background. A hand. Water. Dropping, dribbling, gentle and cleansing. This God, my God, tenderly caressing my weary soul. In the middle of the mess, in the middle of the chaos, this water becomes stillness and peace and the holy.

It’s today now. Another day of it. The mess and the chaos and the meeting God in the middle of it. And it’s Good Friday and we remember the mess and the chaos and the seeming end of it. Jesus on the cross. Blood, vinegar, final words, nails, ripping curtains, ripping hands and feet, dark skies, dark hearts, and the exclamations of “Surely, this was the son of God” and I wonder if there was a heart-cry that followed, “We killed him… the son of God.” The despair.

Joseph is sitting in the chair behind me kicking me and complaining that I won’t add a new app to the iPad and I want to curse the iPad and send it screaming out of my family forever for the ways it tries to seduce and steal my family, my boy who knows that the bread and the wine are for Jesus, that life is for Jesus.

It’s going to be a messy, chaotic day.

But if I close my eyes, I can see it. The Easter sunrise, the Easter sonrise, on the other side. And there can be joy behind my closed eyes that will sustain. My God, My Hope, My Strong Deliverer….

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