Augustin Hirschvogel: Sandals with Classical Ornaments

The Road to Emmaus

There’s a story in Luke’s gospel known as the Road to Emmaus.

A pair of Christ’s disciples were walking from Jerusalem to a nearby town after the terrible Passover during which He was crucified. Jesus joined them, although they didn’t recognize Him at first. They were discussing His crucifixion; they didn’t understand it.

This is a snapshot of my own walk with Jesus.

Jesus came alongside me when I didn’t know Him, or expect Him (indeed, I had rejected Him as a younger man, effectively rendering Him ‘dead.’). With the people walking on the road to Emmaus, He slowly and surely revealed Himself to them by showing them from Scripture why it was ‘necessary for the Christ to suffer these things.’

The invited Him in when they reached their destination and remained ignorant of Him until the moment they broke bread with Him. In other words, they didn’t know Him until they had communion with Him and were in relationship with Him. Then, the gospel says, they finally recognized Him.

He immediately vanished from sight (into the realm of faith) in the same instant.

God is like that for me. He reveals something and then, in the twinkling of an eye, departs until next time. But He has left His Spirit behind, to guide me, establish me and build me up (or wear me down) until I am deemed ready for the next encounter with Him.

My heart is a trumpet, 
Listen to it sing.
My heart is a torch,
Watch it burn.I gave you feet for a reason,
Now, use them to follow Me.’

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Image: Augustin Hirschvogel: Sandals with Classical Ornaments via Wikimedia Commons

The Dandelion

[A 3-minute read]

At the end of its blossom cycle, the dandelion waits for the breeze. It has come again to the pinnacle of its existence. Life-giving nutrients have poured in from the earth, navigating the tubercles, the hair roots, the secondary roots, through the tap root anchoring the plant firmly in the soil.

Day after day, the plant has turned its happy yellow face to the sun, combining water and minerals from below with carbon dioxide and sunlight from above: creating energy. By osmosis through its veins, nutrients get to each cell. I am like the dandelion. My water and nutrients come through my system and into the blood, also moving through veins, deposited in each cell of my body.

The dandelion is all potential and no pretense. When it is ready, it goes. There is no hesitation. The dandelion is faith in action. It is what I would be if I had no doubts. Although I too have potential, I’m often held back by pretense.

Each of the dandelion’s 2,000 seeds has the potential to produce anther plant. There is no pretense in this either; it knows what it is about. It is following God’s command to ‘reproduce after its kind’ The dandelion is certain of its identity, and unconcerned about its future.

A seed may land just a hairsbreadth from its parent, or on a calm sunny day ride a thermal for half a mile. But it matters not to the seed. When it goes, it is ready to go, and it flies without fear. It is ready to go be a dandelion.

The future of the seed is held in the nature of its landing place. If there is good soil with good growing conditions, it prospers. If not so good, it may still prosper, if it is hardy enough. But, if it lands in stones, or water, or on pavement, or becomes some creature’s meal, it will not sprout at all. The seed’s potential to be a dandelion will be lost.

I see myself in this too, spiritual being than I am. Because I have imagination, I unwisely concern myself with my landing pad. My brain insists on knowing about the landing pad before the launch.

However, faith does not work that way. Faith is leap first, look later.

As it is, God has yet to let me down when I leap. In spite of His faithfulness it always seems that, as I ripen into seed, I question whether what He’s prepared will be good, or at least good enough. And – is it safe to go?

In those moments, it is important to remember my advantage over the dandelion. God plants the seed, but I can do my part to help Him prepare the soil. By staying close to Him, by fixing my heart on Him, I remain able to follow His command to be fruitful and multiply.

Yet the dandelion has an advantage over me. It is not a thinking being with doubts and fears and anxieties. It never questions whether God will disappoint. It never ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil like I did. It knows no shame.

The dandelion boldly pushes ahead. It always has more than enough seeds to fulfill what God asks of it. You know what? So do I. The secret is choosing to let Him work and only help when He asks me to.

Not all my seeds may find the best landing place. But I can improve their odds, and that is the best advantage of all.

 

If you liked this essay, you might also like this poem.

(Photo used under CC licence from PiccoloNamek at Wikimedia Commons)

White Silence Drowns Out Black Voices

Yes, I’ve been silent far too long,
And for this I repent.
I’ve tolerated my own indifference,
Which fed my silence, and made it fat.

Silent about hate,
Silent about fear,
Silent about what you’ve been going through,
Even though I can’t possibly understand it,
Because I’ve never lived it.

The howling of my silence now deafens me,
Now that I am awake to it.
Yes, I’ve been silent far too long,
And for this I repent.

All that out of sight is out of mind
Living leads to laziness.
Of course life appears good when
No one complains.

In my silence I couldn’t hear your complaints
That were right in front of me.
I was deaf to your cry and blind to your pain,
And so could not help but be silent.

Yes, I’ve been silent far too long,
And for this I repent.
Yes, I’ve been indifferent far too long,
And for this I ask forgiveness.

If you forgive and take my hand
And lift me up from my knees
I promise to walk with you on the hard road,
The road to redemption.

I’ve been silent far too long,
And my silence kept me from traveling
The hard road to redemption,
That is best walked with a brother.

Yes, I’ve been silent far too long,
And for this I repent.
Yes, I’ve been indifferent far too long,
And for this I ask forgiveness.

Read more poetry here