Sunday, May 26, 2019
From Revelation 21
I saw no temple in the city for its temple is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb. The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb.
Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
How strange it would be were the sun not to rise. That’s not happened, though; the sun is far more reliable than the metronome of our lives and deaths. We don’t predict much about ourselves, but we can rely on the sun, the light of the world.
We seem strong with our neon and fluorescence, our LEDs and terrible bare bulbs dangling from the ceiling. Blare bright, these spotlights on my eyes, till I can’t stand it anymore, Edison’s fancy blessing to us all. I walk outside, to sit beneath the stars.
* * *
Deep in some desert at midnight, I rest with Jesus in the darkness of a nomad’s tent. Robes cover our legs, pulled up underneath us. I put my arms around my knees and look with wonder at the glowing man across from me.
There is no temple here, just the man, just the “Lamb.” The sun might rise and the moon might shine, but this is deeper light, Source Light, nothing like the neon of the city we just left, and really … like nothing even in the sky.
This glory light fills my senses. That sparkle in the eyes of Jesus, such a sight to see, he’s my friend, he’s my father, his joy fills my soul. All my cells breathe in the oxygen of God, and it tastes, this Light, like tangerines. How gently it combines with orange in my nose. The soft, wind-blown whispers of his light edge around me like Chopin. Those quiet, almost silent songs.
A ragged song rises from the edges of the tent. “Put your arms around me like a circle round the sun. You know I love ya, Mama, when the easy ridin’s done. You don’t believe I love you, look at the fool I’ve been, you don’t believe I’m sinkin’, look at the hole I’m in.”
Jesus smiles. He remembers when he sang that same old song in Gethsemane, and his father smiled too. “Do not be afraid, my son. I delight in you. You are mine.”
“I’m stealin’.” I hear the chorus ring louder in the dark tent, in God’s light, in the glory of our communion. “Stealin’, pretty Mama don’t you tell on me, ‘cause I’m stealin’ back to my same old used to be.”
Being here in this quiet in the desert dark with you, peace gathers around me. O Lord, you breathe your breath on me and your Spirit rises around us. We are home together. Soon we’ll go out again and explore, bless and be blessed, share and share alike. Lead me, Jesus.
Will Shade, “Stealin’,” 1921, Southern Music Recording Company. Recorded by the Memphis Jug Band in 1928, then Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, Arlo Guthrie and others. Not exactly a spiritual, not exactly a prayer, but it sounds like one to me.