Peter reached deep into the pocket of his tunic and turned up a wad of lint where a coin should be.
That’s what I like to think, anyway.
The man whose feet and ankles would not support him — leaving him to the limited care of others who would carry him to sit by the gate and beg the equally limited mercy of yet others who would pass by him — he asked Peter and John for alms and I like to think Peter first dug deep into his pocket in search of something substantive to give him.
The text doesn’t say so. I just like to think it sits there between the lines the Spirit found fit to put into print.
He didn’t bill the hillside seminar as a Lunch ‘n Learn, but when the crowd approached at mealtime, he divided up rations sufficient for just a small boy into portions enough to feed around 5,000 folks and still send doggy bags home with the twelve.
The people let full bellies do their thinking, and thought then to make the Miracle Man their king.
He slipped away to the hills before they could get a good grip on His robes.
Mary was a slacker.
There. I said it.
Mary was a slacker and an underachiever and lacked ambition.
Oh, I know — don’t I know — that in side-by-side comparisons, it would be Martha who was found wanting. Martha, who planned and prepared and executed with perfection — He would peer straight through Martha’s heart and say, Your sister has chosen the better thing.
But Martha understood the importance of the Rabbi’s visit that day. She knew the social mores. She sensed as though instinctively the need to honor their guest with a proper meal, in a properly prepared home. This was a really big thing.
And she was the one that got that.
Mary, she was the one you’d find lying on her belly in the grass, picking daisies when there was the wash to do. Always talking about light and color and the moment.
Mary was all about the wonder.
And she never got a thing done.
Her words, beautiful as they are, haunt me. Still.
Through grief that wanted to defy words, she found them. She heard them, His tender whisper rising just above mourning.
My eyes follow the letters, lined up between periods, now in my own editor.
And I freeze.
I travel light.
It’s a point of personal pride, really.
And yes, it was before the days of hauling my laptop wherever I go, but on a two-week trip to Korea I traveled with a single carry-on bag. No checked luggage.
If I couldn’t carry it in one hand, I didn’t need it.
Preparing for a mission project in Buenos Aires several years ago, I forced my rules for packing for international travel onto a group of high school and college students. The instructions were clear enough:
Pack only what you absolutely cannot live without.
Knowing what most of them would consider absolutely essential, I asked them to go a little further.
Then take out half and leave it behind.
Now, close up your suitcase and carry it around the block.
When you catch your breath, take out half again.
What remained in their bags, after taking out, carrying weight and taking out again, was all they would truly need.
It was, to their surprise, enough. (more…)