Saturday, March 16
“This teaching (logos) is difficult, who can accept it?”(v 60) The disciples had just been told, “…unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you”(v 53). What were they to make of this, especially in light of the teachings in Leviticus17 prohibiting the eating of blood? Indeed, this teaching is difficult. The struggle to understand is evident throughout the passage. The teacher was talking about a concept that was beyond their comprehension. The more Jesus endeavored to explain, the more metaphors he offered, the more perplexed and offended they became. Many, in their frustration began to drift. The stakes, the cost of discipleship was getting too high. Much to Jesus’ surprise, others, like Peter, remained. Peter recognized that Jesus had “the words of eternal life”(v.68). Regardless of the cost, the faithful remnant knew that the true hope of their salvation rested upon the Word, and upon his difficult words. There was and is no one else but Jesus.
As I reflect on my Christian journey, I can’t help but remember the times I have been exposed to difficult teachings. How many courses have been dropped because the teachings were too difficult? How many times have texts been set aside because the message was too challenging? If I’m honest, how many times have I wished I could walk away from Jesus because his teachings are too difficult, his expectations too unattainable, his calling too rigorous? The poem, “God of holding on and letting go,” was an outgrowth of one of those seasons in my life. How many times have I, have we all, longed for an easier lord to serve? The truth remains, there was and is no one else but Jesus, nowhere else to turn, no other god to love. He alone is the Word of life.
God of holding on and letting go
I long for moments of certainty … for the ignorance and the innocence of before. But those days exist no more.
God, I know not who you are these days…
I have stepped into the river of in between times … in between the banks of the God of my childhood and the God of my adulthood … swept away in the current of confusion and spiritual loneliness.
I long to reach you on the other side … hoping you will part the waters or let them be the path beneath my feet… but you have done neither.
They say you are not the author of confusion… has Satan led me here or are you refining me in the fire?
I feel you as close as my next breath … holding my existence in your hand. You are near but ever silent… how I long to hear you speak.
You are the Alpha and the Omega, the God of the beginning and the end. You are love and liberation; you are wrath and justice.
God, you are the answer to every question and yet you are an enigma of the greatest sort.
I see the shape of you in all creation and yet you are beyond the reach of my grasp and of my comprehension.
You are the invisible being who put on skin and became the Jesus of my salvation. If only you would save me now. Reach into my soul and pull me to yourself, rescue me from these waters of uncertainty.
I am desperate to hold on and I long to let go. You alone have the words of eternal life and yet the cost of discipleship is so high.
Like Jacob I wrestle… searching for a blessing in the darkness. Dawn breaks; I awaken and am transformed forever.
Thank you, God, for holding on… for a love that never lets go. Lori A. Neff, Dean of Student Life