Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. Isaiah 43: 1b-3
The wilderness is a strange place to be and while there are words everywhere to describe it they are all the wrong words; so I will write about my dream instead. I had a dream last night that I was alone in the darkness; my grandson was in the next room sleeping and I needed to figure out how to get the lights on, but I was afraid to go downstairs and look for the fuse box. I lit some candles and suddenly Jesus was standing there in the doorway of my bedroom. I doubted that it was really Jesus because he looked like the white American Jesus and it all seemed like such a cliché; but he was wearing jeans and a plaid flannel shirt and there was something real about that, so I tried to keep an open mind. I asked him all sorts of questions; I don’t remember what they were, but I do remember that he was patient with me and generous with his answers. We were sitting on the floor and my grandson came in and ran straight to Jesus. I called him over to me and as he curled up on my lap I asked him who the man was. He said, “It’s Jesus of course!” Then Jesus had to leave because there was someone halfway across the world who needed him. As he pulled on his coat I asked him how I could get in touch with him. He handed me a children’s book and pointed to his email address. I tried to copy it down but it kept evaporating. So I asked him to copy it down for me; I remember asking him if he could write. He just smiled and let me keep the book. Then he slipped out the door and was gone.
As I make my way through Lent, I have come to discover that what began as a symbolic journey through the wilderness has somehow morphed into the real thing. There are little stations of comfort though. There are people who extend their hands to help; there are people who offer a hug and a prayer; and then there is a dream about Jesus offering me his email address in a children’s story book.