A priest and performer considers religion, the arts, and the often thin space between sacred and secular, church and culture, pulpit and pew.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Eleventh Day of Christmas: January 4 (John 1:35-42)

On the eleventh of Christmas, God’s true Love gave to me…

…an invitation to Christ’s abiding presence.

Once again John the “Testifier” points to Jesus as the Lamb of God, but this time two of his disciples are with him. (This is the only gospel that suggests that at least one of Jesus’ eventual disciples followed John first.) On hearing this newcomer’s identity, John’s two disciples “follow” Jesus; at this point that probably means they track his steps where he goes, which is why Jesus notices that and turns to ask them, “What are you looking for?” “Rabbi,” they answer, “where are you staying” “Come and see,” Jesus responds.

Where are you staying? Sounds like an odd question. Do they really want to know the address where Jesus is rooming? Or which friend’s house he might be bunking at, in case they know that household? Or how far away that place might be, so they know how long they’ll be dogging his footsteps? Does any of that really matter? Possibly. But might the question signify something less tangible and more indicative of spiritual hunger? The word translated “staying” also means abide. “Rabbi, teacher, where do you abide?” Jesus invites them to “Come and see”, and there they remain, they stay, they abide with Jesus, the Lamb of God.

When Andrew and his friend ask Jesus their initial question, I like to picture our Savior turning to them with a warm smile on his face, and extending his hand out to them in invitation. He knows what’s up, because he understands their spiritual hunger. He doesn’t tell them where he abides; he shows them. Presence accomplishes what language is insufficient to convey.

May the presence and light of the Lamb of God abide in us these waning days of Christmastide, that we may carry his Good News with us.

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