Looking With the Heart
You sit at the morning fire with us as the sun clears the horizon. You’ve made spits on which fish roast, and I watch your hand as you turn one, nestling it deeper into the coals. It’s a strong hand, nutty brown, a worker’s hand, completely unremarkable. But even so, I search the wrist for telltale signs of nail wounds. And there they are, of course, even though I didn’t notice them before.
The campfire smoke makes my eyes water for just a moment before the wind changes direction, fanning the flames as it goes. The smell of fish skin sizzling mixes with the acrid smoke and the soggy smell of the lakeshore. High overhead gulls circle as the dome of heaven pales from violet to egg-shell blue.
I find it hard to recognize you until I look with the eyes of my heart. Then, suddenly, there you are, just as you always have been. You are not a ghost; your lungs fill with air as you breathe and speak. The stones rattle as you move to stoke the fire. And you pull your hand back quickly when the fire draws too close.
You laugh at our stories, encourage us with your silence, welcome us with a gesture to take up the fish and bread and eat. We eat together. I cannot take my eyes off those scarred wrists of yours, but here we are eating together on a lakeshore, and I am at peace.
To those of you who come later, there is this,
After the agony and heartache of the crucifixion comes the eating together. Our hearts are at ease. It changes everything, and I want you to remember that. Pain and death are not the masters of us; they do not conquer us. Step into the knowing of your heart, and there you will find the place where we are eating and drinking together – laughing – loving each other – right now. Christ is the host of that fellowship, and it transcends death.
Look out at whoever the current tyrants are in your world and realize that they are worshiping the wrong things. They will die soon; then what will happen to their empires? Look at the tyrants in your own hearts – esteem, wealth, security, power. You will die soon, and then what? The table of Christ awaits you. It is not a place to which you earn admittance, but you have to know how to travel the road to your own heart in order to find it. In your own spacious heart you will find it.
Our Beloved is there. Our Beloved looks at you with deep appreciation and knowing. There is nothing about you that is not loved. Your place at the campfire is secure; it will not disappear.
This is what we learn at Christ’s table, and it carried us through our lives as it will carry you. We learn that life is fleeting, and that the only thing that matters is love. Love wins out over death every single time.
Find that place in your hearts where the fire crackles on the beach, where you have a place, where Christ, the host welcomes you and makes you at home. With the fish and the bread and the wind and the high flying birds, you belong there. Forever.