Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Empty and Full (06/04/09)
TITLE: No Ordinary Man
By Marlene Bonney
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He was different, somehow, and yet the same as me. I mean, he walked and talked and laughed and cried and had ten fingers and ten toes. He was of average stature and had ordinary features, like me.
Yet, he was nothing like me. He performed miracles by the dozens, some of which I witnessed myself! Healing people of their diseases and ridding them of their demons and feeding thousands with one lad’s simple lunch. He was bold and unafraid to take on spiritual leaders, exposing them in their sanctimoniousness. And he was gentle with children and accepting of outcasts--and women, as well.
I once met a man . . .
There was something about his eyes, though now I cannot even recall their color. When he looked at me, it wasn’t just a glance, you know? It was as if he could see into the depths of my soul, as if he was seeing ME, acknowledging me as a unique individual and not one of many. He really cared about what I was saying . . . or thinking, for that matter. And I watched him affect others the same way. It was easy to see why his followers were dedicated to him. He really listened, you know?
Then, there was his voice. I heard him speak on hillsides outside of different towns. It was amazing, the crowds that gathered to hear him and how his voice resonated quiet authority and mesmerized us. It was soothing, peaceful, even musical with an indescribable quality of assurance. It was as if he knew who he was and knew who we were, and was comfortable amongst us, anyway. He was consistently compassionate and patient—though, I found out soon enough that he doesn’t like hypocrites! There’s a subtle change in the timbre of his voice, then. A piercing sternness laced with a keen sorrow and disappointment that showed the depth of his feelings.
I once knew a man . . .
And, oh, the ideas he spread around! So unfamiliar they seemed outrageous; sometimes because of their very simplicity and other times because of their pointed truths. He made us really think, that’s for sure, as we tried to grasp the meaning of his parables. He was a wondrous storyteller, that one!
I once learned from a man . . .
He was all about teaching us a better way to live instead of beating us up with rules and strictures. He made a lot of sense, even if some thought him heretical. I’ll have to admit that he was a radical of sorts. I mean, some of his ideas were astounding. Like,
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
“To be a master, you must first be a servant.”
“In order to be forgiven, you must first forgive.”
(One bold listener asked him how many times we must forgive and the response was,
“Seventy times seven,” an astounding number!)
His talked mysteriously at times, so that it took us a long while to understand things, like,
“To see, you must first become blind.”
“The last shall be first; the first, last.”
“To live you must first die.”
“Do unto others as you would have them do onto you.”
“Love your enemies and do good to those who hate you.”
“In order to receive, you must give.”
“Whoever humbles himself will be exalted and whoever exalts himself will be humbled.”
“Don’t judge others, for you will be measured by the measure you use for them.”
I once loved a man . . .
And so, when he died, my grief was all consuming. I saw him crucified and buried and miracle of miracles, rise from the dead, eventually ascending into the heavens, revealing Himself as God! I joined his friends, then, waiting—for what, I wasn’t sure. And, that’s when it happened: by leaving us, He sent us His Spirit to live within each of us, giving us power to live out His teachings and share His love to the world!
I now worship the God of all, finally understanding what He meant when He said,
“To be full, you must first become empty.”
So, becoming fuller and fuller of His Spirit as I become emptier and emptier of self,
I now walk with this Man.
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