I love that our gospel last Sunday ended with this note to the readers. It’s a nicer way of saying, “You just had to be there, but we hope this is enough!” All of us have had experiences that we knew our storytelling would just not be enough to describe the extent of what happened for the people who weren’t there. We want to share it, we want people to know what a big deal it was, but there’s always a point we throw up our hands and say, “You just had to be there!” Or, “I wish you were there!” It feels only fitting to me, that after the miraculous stories of resurrection and Jesus meeting his disciples in amazing ways, the writers had to end their transcription with something like this.
Have you ever tried to write a list encompassing all that you know about someone, or even yourself? It’s impossible! We can try, but it most likely becomes a sort of “greatest hits” and often misses the highs and lows that brought you, or the person you’re considering, to that point. What is interesting about an exercise like that is the realization that there is no way to know anyone well enough to write a complete list. It’s really mind blowing when you realize you don’t even know yourself completely enough to write something like that for yourself. You, we, are so much more than a list. On top of that, our knowledge, our knowing, is always limited. There’s always something about someone we will never know. There are always aspects of ourselves we may not know and are still discovering about ourselves.
A big part of knowing each other, ourselves, and even Jesus, means accepting that we don’t know everything. I think this is a fact that often gets lost when we are talking about faith and knowing Jesus. We often talk as though “real faith” means we will know Jesus completely, we will understand God, and lead our lives based on this knowledge. What would happen to our faith journey if we embraced that we will never fully know Jesus? How would that change the way we respond to the witness of scripture, fellow members of the body of Christ, and God’s good creation? I have a feeling this would leave us freer to accept the unknowns that fill our lives and relationships. We could walk more freely in the grace of the resurrected Christ toward a more inclusive faith. We can accept one another without competition or judgement and instead with curiosity and openness to learn from each other. Our faith could be freed from the limits of what we know or don’t and become embodied in our daily existence! We could experience the abundant life in Jesus that was always promised, connect, and grow within our relationships with ourselves, each other, and most especially, in God.
Let us pray...
God of signs and promises,
Open our hearts, minds, and lives to the unknown. Free us to follow you there so that we might know you more fully, believe, and have life in you. Amen.