There is another word, stronger and truer than the word of the world.
The true word is not in the earthquake or the fire or the news feed – it is in a still small whisper. The strongmen of earth can seek to drown it out in caucophony, but still the word whispers. The Wall Streets, Main Streets, and Pennsylvania Avenues clang and clatter with all that humanity deems significant.
But beneath it all is a whisper.
Of goodness and mercy which can never be shaken. Of orphans and widows never forsaken. Of a kingdom with no boundaries and no immigration forms, where all are welcome.
A whisper that things are not as they seem, that hope is not hopeless. The whisper says love conquers all, that the losers of earth are champions, the powerless and poorest are the best-blessed, and the fierce lions of the world who gnash their teeth and roar are really in a cage they can’t escape.
This whisper seems a secret in times like these, when untruths are blasted from the heavens. Joy is found in giving, not grabbing; in dying, not living. In casting off what is comfortable, safe, familiar, and lovely so that those who are not comfortable, not safe, unfamiliar, and unlovely might join this hidden kingdom.
The whisper says there once was a ruler so great and so powerful that he gave up authority. He stepped down from his throne and became a servant. Moved from Fifth Avenue to Jersey. . . Lavington to Kibera. His friends smelled of fish, disease, and stolen money. They would have been overlooked by a world that overlooks ordinary and ugly, but there were too many: Sheep without a shepherd, the servant called them, and suddenly the whole world was following him, listening.
What do you do when the eyes of the world are on you? Do you say what they want to hear or show them the truth?
He walked on water, called a dead man from the grave, healed on the Sabbath day. He made the lame walk, opened the eyes of the blind, healed the sick, preached the good news to the poor. He wept.
The servant spoke of an upside down kingdom where the first are last and the last first. Many followers turned away His words too true to believe. But not all: “Where else can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” There is only one hope.
The world or the whisper.
Where do I build my house. . .on sand or rock? Do I build it on words of the world that bring anger, fear, hate, self-reliance, self-deprecation. Or do I build my house on the whispers of the servant who did not seek insurrection, but resurrection. The words of a king who did not seek a throne but a home within skin broken by sin.
We did not elect him, he elected us.
The Servant said what is real is not what you see, but it is life in me. I have overcome the world and the grave. I break brokenness, I redeem the irredeemable, I am a light in the darkness, hope for the hopeless, a Savior in a world of savior-killers. See my hands and feet, touch my scars. I count sparrows and hairs and cars and bars.
I am a straight ruler with only two lines: love me and love your neighbor.
World, you have to understand – my blood is on your hands. Your ballot, your party, your faithfulness to the broken systems. . .all your grand moving and shaking and legislating ever accomplished was to roll a dice for my robe. You followed a truth-blind Pilate who caved to a hate-blind crowd who handed me to a world-bound army who took me to Guantanamo. I was stripped naked, I was tortured, I bled, I was forsaken.
“Save yourself, ruler, come down from the cross.”
You need to know something about me, I can’t be the king you need if I dont bleed. I can’t be the Savior unless I finish the unfinished business of taking your hate upon my shoulders, inside my wounds. Your thorns are my crown.
There’s love in my chest that conquers death, – a spirit looking out over a valley of dry bones, saying live. Three days is nothing to change eternity.
Not only for me but for my family, those who will come, those who will believe. Those who listen not to the world that screams, but to the quiet, still whispers.
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”