My dogs kept waking me up the other night. Maybe God appointed them to the task, because a fruitful time of reading and prayer ensued.
What resulted was a stream of Biblical consciousness on Facebook. It started with awareness that Jesus washed his followers’ feet while knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God…” (John 13:3, emphasis added)
About to face betrayal, ultimate injustice, suffering and death, Jesus found the focus to serve and teach others in the certainty of his “place” with God.
We have a “place” with God. Jesus uses this image of location in a number of things he says to us, in his own teaching and that imparted through his Apostles:
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:3)
No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” (John 1:18)
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)
If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. (John 12:26)
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
What strikes me as I continue to pray over these and other verses is that the location is not an escape. Although what he describes certainly includes the bliss of eternal life with God, it breaks into current life in his call to follow him now, to serve one another on his behalf, and to rest in his presence in the midst of our labors.
A lyric from (the still touring!) Jesus Christ Superstar popped into my head,
Buddah, was he where it’s at? Is he where you are?
The mystery is that none of us are “where he’s at” because we all fall short of his glory at the moment – yet in the words of the traditional Anglican service of Holy Communion, we are
…made one body with him, that he may dwell in us, and we in him.
We are where he is because he, in great love, chooses to be where we are.