The Kitten has fallen asleep on the couch cuddled in purple cocoon blanket studying her math facts. "Just in case a friend calls." Just in case that friend who is quizzing her on them calls to see if she is ready?
I read the account in Luke this morning of sleepy disciples dozing. Overcome by emotional and spiritual exhaustion, they couldn't hold eyes open in the most desperate hour. Jesus said, "Could you not wait and watch one hour?" They fell asleep on the ground... trying to be ready?
When the Shoulders and I went to Israel, we stood in the jail cell that would have held Jesus before He was sent to Pilate. Before he was flogged to the bone. It got so quiet in there. Thirty or so folks standing in a hole beneath the earth; it's only light the door at the top of the stairs. So quiet. Then...a rupture of tears and snot running down and grown men rummaging through pockets for kleenex and turning faces away. A shred of what it cost Jesus to rescue souls from the pit began to seep through our skin, and we all broke wide.
It cost Jesus to rescue this life.
It cost His Father to turn His back on His Son.
They gave their best and Jesus said...
"IT IS FINISHED."
And we must embrace that gift, friends. The gift of knowing it was US that tied Him to the flogging pole. US that nailed His hands into wood. US that drove the sword deep into His side. US. All of us.
And it is for US that He spoke those words. "Bernadette, IT IS FINISHED." So we can take hold the gift that hung so high and rolled the stone away. The gift of a bridge. A bridge that makes a cross between the fallen and the perfect. The cross that gets us from here to there. The cross the only way.
The Shoulders teaches third graders the Gospel. He uses me to make a point by asking several questions: "Mrs. Botz, have you ever told a lie?" I nod yes and he calls me a liar. "Mrs. Botz, have you ever used the name of God as a swear word?" Yes. He calls me what I know I am...a blasphemous liar. "Mrs. Botz...have you ever...?" Yes. Yes. Yes. And even though I know that I am in the hands of Jesus, it makes my eyes sting. Don't we all need to be reminded that we are just plain...sinners? Don't we all need to stop living as if we can make heaven on our own? That Resurrection doesn't happen with out punishment and death? And that...I can never raise myself? That I need Jesus?
Or I'm dead?