Coffee with Jesus
I want to invite you, on this day in between Good Friday and Easter Day, to take a moment and imagine sitting with Jesus.
If you were to sit with Jesus, where would that be? Outdoors, indoors, your living room… where might you sit with Him?
I envision us sitting in two chairs with coffee. It is quiet.
If you know me, I am a bit of an extrovert. Today, as Jesus reaches for his coffee I notice his hand, the scar of the nail – can you see it?
This over-the-top extrovert can now barely make eye contact with Jesus. Sensing my uneasiness, he asks what’s on my mind. “Wasn’t there another way?” I ask.
Jesus, in his infinite Wisdom, asks me a question: “Why do you think I went to the Cross?”
I reply, “Because of sin.”
Ignoring the sound of cliché Jesus asks, “So sin needs to be paid for, is that what I am hearing?”
“Yes, well yes, but…” I stop mid-sentence and after a while Jesus asks me what is wrong. “Well, it is just that you are a God of mercy. All those times in the Gospels when you didn’t judge, you show so much mercy. Why not mercy for everyone?” He reaches for his coffee again and there is his hand. I am having trouble looking in his eyes, but cannot stop looking at his hands.
Noticing, Jesus says, “Picture yourself in a court room, with a person you know is guilty. Better yet, picture you are in a court room with a person you know harmed you. Do you have that picture? Imagine all the evidence has been presented, the witnesses called, and the trial only awaits the judge’s verdict. The prosecutor has been brilliant. Everyone knows this person has been found ‘dead to rights.’ Then imagine how you would feel if you heard the judge say, “You are free to go,” how would you feel?”
I have pictures of people’s faces in my mind, those who have ravaged humanity. I also have pictures of the faces of people who have ravaged me. Whose face is in your mind?
How would you feel if the person who hurt you deeply were pronounced “innocent”? I would feel violated again.
“You would,” acknowledges Jesus, and he adds “So then it’s justice?” Involuntarily I blurt out, “If justice is necessary, does it apply to everyone?”
Jesus taking a moment sips his coffee and I again see his hand. Then he says, “Love does not say to the beloved, your wound does not matter, for you, the beloved matter. Spare me the superficial love that says what you do and who you are do not matter.”
As this idea of love hangs in my mind, at that moment images of people appear before my eyes. First into view are the people I had been thinking of, but then others including my friends appear. Regardless of whether they are my friends or not, I know two things: Jesus calls them beloved, and yet their lives have been less than, shall we say, perfect.
Try and envision this group of people for yourself. As I am gazing upon these people Jesus interrupts my thoughts, saying: “You choose who should receive justice? Is there anyone there whose sin you think is too small?”
Before I can answer I see my two sons; imagine for yourself seeing someone you love.
“But surely, Lord”…my voice fades, not knowing what to say as I see the scarred hand again lifting the coffee cup to his lips.
Jesus lets me sit there for what seems like an eternity, and finally I say, “I don’t want to choose. It isn’t up to me to judge.” Grasping at some Scripture, “Doesn’t the Bible say I’m not to judge?”
Jesus, noting my law-based escape, smiles for a moment. But then his face gets serious as he looks at all the people we are both seeing.
He says, “You’re right, it is not up to you to judge, the Father has left that to me. In my Father’s world, in my world, in our world, there must be justice. Without justice, the world would be saying what happened to you doesn’t matter—that you don’t matter. You, everyone, is of infinite value.”
“If I love you, if I love the world, then I must judge. I judge them, all of them, and they are all guilty.”
His voice while quiet is as deafening as a gavel. The one word “guilty” seems to be reverberating around my brain. One part of me knows he is right and one part of me is in shock.
Before I can react, there they are again, his hands. This time he is holding them out as He says, “Love does not say to the beloved ‘it does not matter.’ Love says, ‘I love you all too much, justice demands a price, and so I will pay it.’”
My eyes cloud as I realize God’s mercy and justice kiss in the Body of Jesus; together in His hands, His feet, His side.
The Cross of Christ shows us God’s determination to demonstrate in His Body, that all that is wrong matters; it must be “put in the right”; there must be justice. The Passion of the Jesus shows us the depth of God’s love and mercy. It is God’s offering for us and to us…may we receive His Love, and offer ourselves to God.
Later today as you sip your coffee or tea, think of his hands, and thank Jesus for his love, and for choosing to die in order that you might live.