Sunday, I'm preaching a sermon in a series about faith questions. I came up with "Where are you going?" It's what Peter says in John's gospel when Jesus mentions that he's leaving. I figured, why not, eh? Don't we ask that question of each other all the time? Don't we ask that question of God all the time? There are tons of times in our lives where we wonder where God has gone. We feel alone, like God left us. I'm not interested in preaching on the poem Footprints I think it's a great poem but it can be a little too easy sometimes. But in reading through this passage, and in looking at what Jesus replies to Peter's question, I end up coming to a fairly different place than I'd expected.
Interestingly enough, Jesus' response comes out of the Jewish betrothal ritual. It's just one in a list of images and references throughout the NT of Jesus as the bridegroom - and therefore as the church as the bride. The idea of the intimate covenant of marriage being extended to God-humanity. This of course is not new - Hosea is all about it and so is Song of Songs. So, I've decided to take a passage from Hosea and use it as our Scripture reading. Then, I've selected some passages talking about God's turning/returning to Israel and their's to Him to run during the prelude. Interestingly enough, we've got new members joining Sunday too. so, I've got juxtaposed to the question "Where are you going" and the idea of God leaving us, with some imagery of the radical covenant between God and humanity, and the decision on our parts to be part of that.
At this point, it's all mixed up in there (there being my head). I'm not sure where I'm landing with it - but it IS only Tuesday. But I just can't get over this idea of Jesus being so intimately involved with us that it can be compared to marriage. I'm only 7 years into mine, and I'm still discovering what that radical covenant can be. And it's amazing to know that I can look at God and see how intimate it can be - and see how intimate God wants that relationship to be with us.
Is there something in that agony of the ecstasy of separation. Something about the heart growing fonder? As Jesus goes to prepare a place for us - to return some day to take us to be with Him - is there something on our parts, as we wait and eagerly anticipate - where our longing for him grows? Is there something there to be preached? Is there something there that we need to be reminded of - that in the empty silence there remains a presence that is too deep for words? Is there something there, in the promise of faithfulness - the words of promise given by THE Word that quenches the thirst of our ears to hear truth?