24 June 2009

“Did becoming older draw me closer to Jesus?”

That’s a question Henri Nouwen asked himself and touched upon in a thin but poignant book called In The Name of Jesus.

How many times will I read a book or watch a movie? I’ve never really understood why people buy videos or DVDs. If you’ve seen it once, would you really get enough value out of it to buy the thing, build shelves to house it and then dust it periodically? I don’t get it. I do get it with books. They take longer to get through, usually. They are tactile; holding a book in your hands creates a connection stronger than looking at a square of flashing lights. Books have an odor: possibly the paper and ink or maybe the musty smell of a pre-loved volume. Books are aesthetically pleasing on a shelf like treasure tomes concealing value and mystery. Anyway, I digress, happens to me when I start eulogizing over books.

If I rarely watch a movie twice or even re-read a book now then, why is it that I’m drawn to the Scriptures repeatedly? Is it reasonable to think that I’ll re-read a Gospel with vigor? If I’ve been to that cliff edge with Mark and then to the sick bed with Luke, will there be any impact if I go back? The mountain was interesting with Matthew the first time, but I know how it ends now! And all that midwifery talk with John; well, really!

I am nearing 50. Forty-seven is nearer fifty than forty, so I’m nearly fifty. “Does becoming older draw me closer to Jesus?”

Do I see nuance and details in the gospel accounts that I didn’t see before? I can even check my old Bibles and the words were definitely there. Maybe it’s my eyes? Maybe it’s my heart? Maybe the suffering of time in a distorted world draws me to him? Or does it dull my senses, my spirit?

Do I pray and commune with Him differently, nay, better, now than when I was 30, or 20 or younger? Do I say, “Yo, me again.” and his reply, “Yep.” Or is it more a comfortable, “I’m home.” With a reply of “Sit and rest awhile.” Is it a repetition of past prayers, selfish and shortsighted requests or something deeper, richer, of more substance and understanding?

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