“…and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” -2 Timothy 3:15-17
Getting back to my faith roots.
Scripture was my first love. In the concrete walled halls of a small Baptist church school I fell in love with story. Bible was the first class of the day. Memory verses were important, but it was the flannel graph figures whose lives resurrected against a velvet gray each day who captivated my imagination: from the great patriarchs of the Hebrews to the socially disenfranchised who found both mercy and healing in Y’shua‘s words and touch. Some heard the stories and came away angry or confused at the cruel, punishing deity on one side of the book and the Utopian idealism of the ragged rabbi of Galilee depicted in the other. Not me. I heard the epic in a different way.
Always being smaller, slower, and socially awkward John the Evangelist dialed straight into this introvert’s frequency.
What will we play? My words dismissed by the group as if unspoken.
When the Alpha would speak, play began.
We played the flute for you, but you did not dance. – Luke 7:32
Say again, John, all after “He was in the world…but the world did not know Him.”
He came to His own…but His own… did not accept him. –John 1:11
The jealous protective fiery response of the deeply loving, ever rejected God begins with a deep wound which could not be reconciled; a bustling playground vacated at the sound of the approaching happy-excited running-steps.
When they heard the sound of God strolling in the garden in the evening breeze, the Man and his Wife hid in the trees of the garden, hid from God.
God called to the Man: “Where are you?” –Genesis 3:8-9
So my mind was attuned to the God of the Bible who gives in grandiose ways and protects by exaggerated means, just to convey affection to those who seem unreachable and unresponsive. And yet I remain keenly aware of the unresponsive ones who likewise find God unreachable and non-responsive; repulsed by the over-the-top gestures which seem to erupt out of nowhere with little to no context.
No one understands the Autistic God of the Bible quite as I have.
So I did not find the extravagant act of God: being found in appearance as a man, self-humbled, self-limited, becoming obedient to the point of suffering humiliation, even death, on a cross, such a difficult thing to grasp. The words of the cross echoing the same confused cry spoken through creation and prophet since the world began: Love me!
The God-breathed text of the old covenant whispers the same audacious promise God speaks from the cross. It is as much a promise for us as it is a promise God made to Himself: that one day God will no longer be rejected- no longer alone.
Loved, and Loving, in eternal reciprocity.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” -Revelation 21:3-4