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John 16.20-28 – Face-to-face with Papa

You will weep while the crowds cheer.  But your grief will give way to joy. (21) Giving birth is painful, but the pain is nothing compared to the joy of having a new baby. (22) You will have pain, but when I see you again on the third day, you will have joy, and no one will be able to take it away from you.

(23) On that day, you will not ask me for things.  Instead, you will ask Papa in my name, and she will give to you.  (24) This will be a change from how things were before.  You will be a full participant in the Triune conversation.  You will ask, you will receive, and you will overflow with our joy.

(25) I’ve been using figures of speech.  But soon you will be able to hear me speak of Papa more simply. (26) That is when you will ask for what you want in my name.  Let me be perfectly clear:  This does NOT mean I will ask Papa FOR you.  You won’t need to hide behind me as we live face-to-face with Papa together, (27) for Papa loves you just like I do.  You will know her love more and more as you continue to love me and believe that she sent me.  (28) Papa sent me to be present with you in the world in this way, but this phase of the plan is almost over.  My current mode of presence will end.  When I ascend as a man to Papa’s right hand, I will be with you in a new way.  A better way.

Ascended to the kitchen

I get a lot out of The Shack‘s emotionally satisfying vision of God, but I’m a thinker, as well as a feeler.  I’m a scientist; I’m interested in finding the structures and patterns of how the real world works.  So when I read The Shack, I’m also asking questions like: “Is this the way things really are?  How do we know?  Why do they work this way and not some other way?”

I bring it up because today (May 17, 2012) is a celebration of an historical event that changed the nature of the cosmos into the basic situation we see in The Shack (human fellowship with the Triune God).  It’s the Ascension of the resurrected Jesus. At Easter, the human race became something bigger than Death.  On Ascension day, the human race became something that hangs out at God’s kitchen table.

Remember, the whole Jesus drama had a singular goal–the inclusion of the human race (and all of Creation) at the kitchen table of Infinity.  Jesus came to be with us in all the depths of our glorious crap, including the 6-feet-under depth for which we are all destined. And with him we were raised from those depths, not just to the level of life we had before, but to the aliveness of the very heavens.  To that eternal kitchen table of banter, butter and beans.

It is in the Ascension that Jesus accomplished this.  We live in the Shack with Papa, Jesus & Sarayu, whether we see it or not.  We feast at that kitchen table, whether we believe it or not.  Jesus was happy to carry us here himself. And it really did happen.

I like to think I’m beginning to wake up and smell the beans.

(If these ideas are new to you, my friend Jonathan today has a post that goes into more depth).

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