This morning I finished reading the book of Mark with a dear friend that is in a journey of seeking. I cannot explain how exciting I find it to share the end of Mark's story with others. After reading the section of Jesus on the cross and his final words, I always turn the reader to Psalm 22 where Jesus is quoting, “My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me.” If you haven't read the Psalm in its entirety, take the time to read it. The final two verses always give me chill bumps in the context of sharing Jesus's story with someone:
He has done it! Booyah (pardon my English expression from the nineties). There is a fire in my bones when I truly understand what it being communicated in those words.
We imagine hearing God's voice of authority at the baptism of Jesus. We read through the life of Jesus and imagine what it would be like to be a disciple following after this soon-to-be-King. We are in awe of Jesus's power over demons, sickness, nature, and death. We shake our heads as the disciples fail to get it time after time. We question what type of soil we are as we read through Jesus' parables. We internalize the message for ourselves as the man exclaims to Jesus, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” We sympathize with the followers as their leader is led away like a lamb to be slaughtered. We mourn with those women at the foot of the cross after they have witnessed a horrific death to a man of humility, compassion, and honor. We discuss the freedom we have in Christ and the barriers that have been removed when the curtain is split in two. We are in awe that the centurion, a Roman Gentile, is the first to confess Jesus' name after he breathes his last, but then we rejoice with the women that proclaim the news of the resurrection. We cling to hope that he does what has been promised since the days of old. For he has done it!
I explain to my friend that I want her to make a commitment to God. But I don't want her to commit from pressure she feels from me. I want her to feel the pressure from the Holy Spirit. It is her decision, and it is not a decision to take lightly. Taking up your cross to follow is not a walk in the park. We discuss making covenant with God in front of the family of God, and through the act of baptism that is such a powerful symbol of dying to self but being raised in Christ. We discuss the Holy Spirt and the meaning of circumcision of the heart. We mention “the kingdom of God” being here and now and not yet. I share why the phrase “freedom in Christ” is so special to Christians. She tells me she is so close to making this decision. She tells me she needs to read and reflect. We pray; we hug; we plan our next time together.
Coming to faith is the work of the Spirit. The Spirit transforms us. But he only is able to do his work completely when we are seeking. My friend is seeking. It is my prayer that I call her sister very soon, and then I will rejoice. For he has done it!