Updated: Nov 23, 2019
I think there’s a direct correlation between the appearance of the sun and my ability to write. Not joking. These past couple of weeks I’ve had about as much clarity as our November sky. Wondering out loud at a staff meeting, if maybe Solomon penned Ecclesiastes during a similar season. Meaningless! Meaningless!—or to quote the ESV, “Vanity of vanities...”
I was born in this month. A Veteran’s Day baby, arriving just after our nation’s elections. Which is a bit ironic. This year, my mom’s birthday greeting was a Facebook post of a pigtailed girl, dressed in red, holding a flag. And don’t tell Mom, but the grown-up me is about as disinterested in the political scene as humanly possible.
A week or so ago I turned the age I’d already thought I was for most of the past year. Which is to say, it hardly felt like getting older. A funny thing, and I’m not sure how it happened, although I will admit, number memory has never been my strength. But it makes me wonder. My fifty-second year, followed by the year of being fifty-two. At the very least a number I might look back on, and remember.
It has certainly been a season of transition. A year of emptying the nest and being a Nana and trusting God to show me how to be Mom to all these adulting children. It’s been a honeymoon of sorts (don’t tell the kids)—dreaming and planning and praying alongside my BFF. And it’s been a season, too, of the two of us learning what it means to be Jesus’ Apprentice. (This language borrowed from a west-coast pastor you’ve maybe heard me mention a time or two.)
If I had to guess I’d say I’ll look back on fifty-two (whether coming or going) as the year I changed my mind about some things. This language also borrowed, this time from a married son. And there’s a reason, I think, it will take two full years to fully appreciate the implications.
Rewind. November six years past. The month, also, for Thanksgiving. (And I’ll mention this as another tangent—if we’re keeping track of all the ironies—I was born in the month of the holiday of cooking.) But I digress. Six years back. Camp of Dreams, Felipe and Jimmy, a Thanksgiving table, and God sending an angel to say, “Sonya, Shalom.” (Click here to read that full story.)
Shalom, an Old Testament word meaning “peace”—or in the words of my pastor friend, “nothing missing, nothing broken.” And if you’re still following along with this rambling post (clear as November, I did warn you)—I’m getting oh-so-close to making my point.
Here. In my fifty-second year. He shows me. Nothing missing, nothing broken, in all this broken world. This world of bloody wars and border battles and political drama. This world of disease and depression and fractured design. Meaningless and vanity and THIS is the very same world Jesus saw with compassion and never stopped healing until the day He died. Nothing missing, nothing broken. And then. He conquered death and rose to the heavens and said—Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these…
He passed the baton. He passed on the mission.
To me. His Apprentice.
To us. His people.
Jesus in us means we keep on doing the things He was doing. We heal. We welcome. We feed. We forgive. We bring good news to the poor, and sight to the blind, and freedom for prisoners and those who are oppressed. We FIX what’s broken. Not just in theory—but REALLY AND TRULY. We Christians, who bear this Christ in our very beings. We bring HOPE to hopeless. Meaning to meaningless.
Sun in November.
Fifty-two years, and I think I'm finally seeing it. Clear.
Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:10-14