COLLECT OF THE WEEK
Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. - Book of Common Prayer, p. 219
…As suddenly as the lights had gone out, they came back on. The man’s eyes took a few seconds to adjust to the bright lights, and when he looked again the stranger was gone. He glanced around the parking garage. Everything seemed normal. He toggled the remote door locks, and they worked normally. The man climbed into his car (after checking the back seat) and started the engine. He drove slowly around the tight confines of the garage, expecting at any minute to meet ………. Meet what exactly, he didn’t know. As he proceeded to the exit, the man started to wonder if he had, in fact, actually encountered anyone in the garage. But his trembling hands and ragged nerves that were the result of the adrenaline still pumping through his system left little doubt that the experience had been all too real.
As he drove home he began trying to make sense of the strange meeting. How does one react to a meeting with his Creator? Why, of all people, did had he been chosen? Was he destined to be someone extraordinary in some way, perform some great act that would bring world peace? Cure cancer? Not very likely, the man thought. That just wasn’t who he was, not who he expected to be, didn’t want to be. If God knew him well at all, and that stranger surely seemed to know him, then the man doubted that even God didn’t expect those things of him. Yet the question remained; what did God want from him?
The man reached home a little later than usual, and the household was quiet. His wife sometime waited up for him, but not tonight. No way was he going to be able to sleep tonight, so he found his favorite chair and continued to wrestle with the strange events in the parking garage. But he was not completely ignorant of where to find the answer to the question he had asked the stranger that evening. He retrieved his Bible from its dusty spot beneath the night stand in the bedroom. He knew the answer was in there somewhere, but where to start. Clearly, God was expecting something from him, and he needed to sort that out, and quickly from the sound of it. So he started at the beginning. “In the beginning, God …….” Yeah, he had just heard that one first hand and still wondered what it meant. As the man rummaged through that great volume of God’s word, he realized that the answer was not just going to jump out at him. What God seemed to want in the Old Testament seemed rather different from what he found in the New Testament. As rich and meaningful as the writing of the Old Books were, that God seemed not to be one to trifle with. He perceived Jesus in the New Testament to be a much easier side of the Deity to get along with, but he remembered the stranger in the garage vividly, and there were both aspects of God present in his steady gaze. But as strange as that seemed at the moment, he found a passage in John’s Gospel that seemed to bring the true character of God into tight focus: God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son ... Why would He do that? And what does the fact that he did that mean to him? More questions …
The man knew he was not going to answer his question in one sitting. Eventually, his eyes grew heavy, and he found his way to bed. The feeling of panic and terror had left him when he opened the scriptures and started reading. He knew he was headed in the right direction and that he would keep going. But he also knew that this was going to take some work on his part …to be continued.