Thanks to those who have shared their reflections here! We now come to Holy Week, the end - and the beginning - of our Lenten journey. During this week we will continue WonderCafe's Lenten devotional book study with daily reflections on I Am Listening: Daily Devotions for Lent(UCPH, 2011). All are welcome.
I thought of the disciples. I thought of how I have learned. I thought of how all of us have learned wisdom.
I gained wisdom by limitation the other day as I listened to a young man who had gained wisdom from his bitter experiences. I listened as he told me his story of being separated from his father and how recently he sought to walk the long road back into a father-son relationship. I listened, but could do nothing because I was limited by the geographic distance between us: where I was and where he was allowed me to be a listener, but not a rescuer. Phone calls can sometimes make it easier to be objective and more open to listening, but the problem is that we cannot see the face, the eyes, the tears, the stance the body is taking.
I gained some wisdom by reflection the other day, from a young woman who had learned wisdom from her bitter experience. I was attending a funeral where the young woman spoke of the love she had for her father. Because of life’s circumstances and family dynamics, she had been out of touch with her father for a very long time. Her talk made me think of Jesus’ tears and of Mary’s tears and of the tears of the disciple who loved Jesus, but stood at a distance. Sometimes that is the way I feel…Tears are the words we use when we cannot express our thoughts in any other way.
I gained wisdom through experience. Sometimes we lose connection in our relationships. Think, at those times, of the disciples after they left Jesus on his own and went off—a short distance away and watched, and then a farther distance and hid, and then a longer distance and sequestered themselves behind bigger walls, each time making the barrier a little bigger. I think how the walls and the barriers become hard to break down when we leave them for another day. Three days was hard enough to leave the pain and the anger unexpressed before having to come face to face with the one we left, the one we felt left us or hurt us.
Who speaks first? Was it not Jesus? He said to Mary, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”4 He said to the disciples the first time he came to them, “Peace be with you.”5 Maybe it goes back to Jesus’ question to Mary in the garden where she waited, where she wept, where she felt angry and alone, deserted and confused: “Who are you looking for?” Who was she looking for? She was looking for the body of Jesus. She saw a gardener. Then she saw in the gardener, Jesus.
What were the disciples looking for? They were looking for hope and direction in the midst of despair. Jesus gave them words of hope in the greeting “Peace be with you.” He gave them hope and then pointed them in a direction, charging them with a great responsibility.
Who are we looking for? Is it the Jesus from the pictures that great artists have painted? Is it God painted by those same artists? Is it the wind—God’s breath? Is it that which is without image as the Hebrew people believed?
Who are we looking for?
Discussion: How have I grown in wisdom through reflection, limitation, and/or experience?