Shaia moves from the challenges and sufferings that Mark speaks of to the Garden of the Gospel of John – and especially the joy as one comes into that place of beauty and renewal. My morning started not with the beginning of Shaia’s reflections on the Gospel of John, but showing up early for a breakfast with a friend this morning at Waffle House. We were set to meet at 8:15 but I arrived there at about 7:55 and decided to go to the park across the street rather than just sit in the restaurant. I was so thankful that I did as I saw a truly stunning sunrise this morning. When I had a chance to dig into this next section of Heart and Mind, I came across a stunningly beautiful introduction to the Gospel of John – first a very beautiful translation of Psalm 126 by Norman Fischer…
When you bring us out from enclosure
We will be like dreamers
Our heads thrown back with laughter
Our throats vibrating with song
And the others will say
Have happened to them
The ones who have struggled
Long with their questions
Great things would have happened to us
And we would be dizzy with the joy of them
Drunk on water in an arid land
Our tears our joy’s seed
We’d go out weeping
And come back singing
Our arms full of sheaves
That is how I felt as I watched this sunrise – abundant joy – laughter and song. It was a perfect way to begin the day.
I then came to the following description of what Shaia describes as the entry to the “garden” of John’s Gospel…
With this opening, it is as though we have walked through a gate into the most beautiful springtime garden imaginable. Immeasurable beauty and bounty surround us. Our senses are confounded. Breezes ruffle our hair as we stroll, and birds call out their jubilant songs. We can feel how our fragile footprints are being overlaid by the Great Spirit, the enfolding of Mystery, the Christ. We have a clear sense that we have entered a new plane of understanding where this largesse is freely available, a gift bestowed on all—not earned by any action of ours and completely unconditional.
What I experienced this morning with that sunrise was pure gift. It was gift available to anyone who looked up at the sky at that moment. It was gift – just as the gift of Christ is available to me and available to all.