practice the Presence | John 10.37-42
37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained.41 And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there. John 10.37-42 | ESV
“Deeds are so important to you, so why don’t you just look at mine! Look at my track record! If I don’t have a track record of works clearly demonstrating my Father’s beauty and goodness, then, fine, don’t take me serious for a moment, just write me off as a nobody, a heretical windbag. But if I have the deeds, then even if you can’t handle what I say and how I say it, trust what I actually do so that you can recognize and experience this fundamental reality: Abba in me, me in Abba.”
Forget the rocks, they went for the throat, to throttle and seize him right there on the spot. But he walked right through their grasping hands.
So it was time to leave. Again. This time across the Jordan, not too far from where John was dunking people at the start of all this. Jesus decided to hang tight there for a while. News spread about where he was and crowds once again began gathering. They kept saying, “You know, John never had a resume of miracles and divine healing, but everything John said about this man was spot on!” And in that desert place filled with so many echoes of John, many laid it all on the line for Jesus.
MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
I have several key mentors who, being dead, still speak. Brother Lawrence is one of them.
When I am asked about prayer, I reach for Brother Lawrence.
When people want to know how they can hear God and experience his lead and direction in their lives, I turn to him.
Mother Tessa Bielecki describes him as “a great awkward fellow who broke everything.”
At age eighteen, he experienced a profound conversion when he saw a bare tree in the middle of winter “standing gaunt and leafless against the snow.” But what for others was just another lifeless tree in the dead of winter, Brother Lawrence saw a sign of hope as he was suddenly seized with anticipation of the miracle of this same tree burgeoning with new life the following spring. He was overwhelmed by “a high view of the providence and power of God” which never left him and which kindled in him an intense love for God. He entered a monastery of the Discalced (shoeless) Carmelites in Paris where, as a lay brother, “he worked for fifteen years in the kitchen, though he had a natural aversion for it, then as the monastery’s doorkeeper.”
Great awkward man who broke everything.
Not even a real monk.
And popes came to sit at his feet and learn about his practice of the Presence.
Funny how often such practice of the Presence ends up happening on the other side of the Jordan rather than in holy vaulted halls.
The religious in-crowd were so sure they were in tune with God and so they not only turned their noses up at Jesus but were ready to stone and throttle him.
But poor pilgrims in nowhere land on the other side of the Jordan saw the Glory in his Face.
John had no impressive track record of signs and wonders – shoot, he didn’t even have a decent wardrobe or a respectable “church.”
But he was spot on about Jesus.
They could see it for themselves in his face.
And they could hear it in his words.
“Eyes that see and ears that hear: both are a gift from God” says ancient sage.
Lord we would have both.
Is the presence of God something you “practice” or is it more something you sporadically experience? Why?
Abba, make Brother Lawrence’s prayer mine, from deep in my bones: “Lord of all pots and pans and things…make me a saint by getting meals and washing up the plates” – and let me hear your voice in the clatter and chatter of it all. Through Jesus.