The Last Supper……..Story 3 of 3

min-jesus-and-apostlesCommunion has always been a place of honor and remembrance for me with Jesus.  My most precious times to share communion is when it is just He and I at home.  I repent, I surrender and I love on Him and it never fails that I hear an echo in my spirit that says, “Do this in remembrance of me…I want you to remember me, Patti.”  And I respond, “I remember you, Holy One…I do, I do, remember you.”

He always makes our communion encounters powerful.  Once as I held the goblet of juice I had a strong spiritual impression of Him standing in front of me…cupping my hands and holding the goblet for me to drink from.  Another time it was like He held my head as I drank from His cup.

I just feel with everything in me that He wants me to KNOW how much it matters to Him.  There is nothing casual about it.  How can there be?  How can I not remember Him?

And then I wonder what it would have been like to be one of His disciples that last week as they entered Jerusalem…hearing the voices of the people calling out to Jesus in the streets, “Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”  I know that truly the voices of the people that Jesus came to save reached high to the balcony of the heavens that day.  But only Jesus could hear the glorious roar from which all of heaven responded.

And even some time later I can easily imagine the flurry of activity as the disciples and Jesus arrived at their destination, a large upper room, already prepared for the Passover supper.  And here my friends, is where my story begins today.  We will step in and let young John, the youngest disciple, show us what it might have been like.   I can already see him running up the staircase to catch up to Jesus…as they all walked through the prophesied door of destiny.

__________________________________

Everyone was enjoying this time with Jesus at the Passover supper.  To recline around the table was to literally enjoy the freedom this night was in remembrance of.  John was always so excited to listen to all the stories of his ancestor’s deliverance from Egypt.  He himself was taught the stories as a young lad.  As a Jew, sharing these generational stories and teachings were some of his favorite traditions — never forgetting who he was nor where he came from.  But sharing them with his Lord was the joy of his life.

John always made sure to get one of the seats closest to Jesus. He knew that his relationship with Jesus was personal.  He could see the spark in Jesus’ eye and being the youngest disciple gave him a few advantages – and he certainly enjoyed that!  But sincerely, John loved Jesus more than anything or anyone that he had ever loved before.  Even tonight, to be able to watch all the disciples recline around the table and listen attentively as their Master spoke was one thing.  But for him, sometimes he just wanted to get as close as he could to Him – to touch Jesus as he leaned back against him – as his Lord breathed, spoke and shared Himself.  Relationships mean different things to different people John knew – but he just wanted to be in His presence.  And John knew that Jesus wanted him there!  Knowing you are loved is powerful!

Sometimes John even thought he saw a secret in Jesus’ eye…like He had a surprise for him one day…something special that he would give to no one else.  One of these days I need to ask him about it John thought.  I wonder what that revelation might be?  Oh, well, one day I will ask him.

John loved listening to Jesus.  His voice had a way of talking not just to your ears…but to your heart.  He talked with wisdom and authority but without all the pompousness that you would see in all the religious rulers.  He talked of His Father with such obedience and love that following Him was all you ever wanted to do.  His voice was deep and rich almost like water you could swim in.  There was never an answer He did not know and trusting Him was as easy as breathing for John…and for all the disciples…or for anyone that had ever met Him.  It was a great night and John just listened, relaxed and enjoyed the meal being surrounded by people that he loved, admired and respected.

Suddenly after a brief silence around the table – Jesus said each of our names.  All of us straightened up in our seats and looked at Him.  I watched Him reach out and pick up a piece of bread out of the dish, break it and gave a piece to each of one of us…looking deep into the eyes of every one.  He said, “Take this…eat it…it is my body.”  I took the bread and looked at Him as he watched me eat it.  Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to each of us saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood…poured out for the forgiveness of sins.”  My hand was shaking as I took the cup from Him.  Again, He watched each of us drink from the cup that He offered us.  But ringing in my ears, were his words…my blood poured out…

Then as their first communion meal was ending, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”  I don’t think there was a sound in the room after Jesus said that.  Then like an explosion we all spoke at once – each saying, “No, never, Lord…surely not I!”  Trying to comprehend what was happening, we all looked at each other.  Then lastly, Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?”  We all turned our eyes to Jesus.  He never raised His voice but looked straight at Judas and answered, “Yes, Judas, it is you.  Do what you must do quickly.”  As Judas jumped up and ran out of the room, Jesus whispered to all of us, “I will go forth as written…but for Judas, truly it would have been better if he had not been born.”

No one said a word, no one spoke at all.  Everyone knew something unknown was beginning to happen.  Softly at first, then stronger, in Jewish tradition to end the Passover meal, the real Passover Lamb began to sing to God…His Father…and all the disciples joined in.

_____________________________________

Somehow I know that at that point in the heavens, Jehovah God swallowed hard at the hours that He knew were ahead for His Son…and knowing that crucifying and turning His back on Jesus would be the hardest thing that He would ever do.  But He would do it, for even as He was God, it all had to happen.  After all, Jesus was in on the plan.

And in the same upper room where they just shared the last supper…in that same upper room God had another appointment in the near future.  The Holy Spirit was coming…

God always has a plan.  Remember Him…

Creative Story series – 3 of 3

Patti Corbello Archer

August 15, 2011

Mary Magdalene…real love finally Story 2 of 3

imagesCAGVXB2J

Personally, in scripture I relate most of all to Mary Magdalene…mostly because when so many around Jesus wanted the miracles He could do for them, her heart and eyes were solely on Him because of who He was. When He walked into her life…and healed her, delivered her, and loved her, her life was forever changed.  She surrendered and worked alongside the apostles and the leader women and provided, served, loved and enjoyed her Rabboni.  Yes, you heard me, her Teacher. In study just tonight I learned that rarely is that term used with “Rabbi” – but she used it that way.  She changed the meaning from Rabbi to Rabboni…from Teacher – to “My” Teacher.  That to me is a total soul sell-out.

I think she also changed Jesus’ life with her love.  Don’t all relationships change our lives?  After all, He came to save her – all of us – so that He could HAVE relationships with us.  Why would He be distant as He walked on the Earth?  He wouldn’t be.  He enjoyed each moment of those 33 years with those who breathed the breath of life…that He gave them.  I believe that with all of my heart.  Every relationship will always be personal with Him. Every relationship will always be unique with Him.

Mary Magdalene was not afraid to be personal with Him.  He knew everything about her and loved her anyway.  Because of love…she stayed there for Him during the days of His ministry and she was there at the end…as He struggled to breathe on the cross…as those closest to Him lay weeping at His feet – as they laid His lifeless body into His mother’s arms.  Believing that He was gone forever, they all grieved…hearts shattered…spirits devastated and drenched in tears of sorrow that they believed would never end.  But God had a plan.

So this, my friends, is where tonight’s story begins…seemingly at an ending…

 ______________________________

Mary Magdalene woke up that Easter Sunday morning long before dawn.  Her eyes were swollen, her cheeks paved with the dried path of many, many tears.  She lay there in the dark, hurting.  It felt like her heart was screaming in pain.  She hurt for the pain He endured.  How could they have done those things to Him?  What happened to make the world fall apart so suddenly?  She whispered brokenly, “Jehovah, help me.  Help us all…”

Suddenly filled with an urgency to get to the tomb, she rolled over and stood up.  Weak for a moment she just closed her eyes.  Trying to shut out the horror of yesterday and the truth of today her lips quivered and she swallowed hard.  With cracked words she cried softly, “Jehovah…they hurt Jesus so much…they killed Him…and my mind is filled with His last hours.”

Trying to get hold of herself she wiped her face on her sleeve and stooped over to tie her sandals.  Then she straightened and walked over to the table by the window and with her hand shaking she picked up the anointing spices.  She reached up and draped her wrap around her head and walked out the door into the pre-dawn morning.  She felt the need to get to the tomb early.  She didn’t want Jesus left alone.  She knew His mother would be there soon also.  “Oh, Mary,” she whispered, “I hurt for you too.”   She went the rest of her journey in silence…heavy in heart…one foot in front of the other.

It was still dark when Mary Magdalene made her way through the garden path and rounded the final hill to reach the tomb that Joseph and Nicodemus had laid Jesus in.  She was shocked to see that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance of the tomb.  Seeing that the tomb was empty she ran for Simon Peter and John.

Startling both of them so early in the morning, “Mary cried out, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don’t know where they have put him!”  They all ran back to the tomb.  Entering the tomb they found the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that was wrapped around Jesus’ head.  It was folded up all by itself.  They didn’t understand what happened but they knew it was true…He was gone.

The disciples left and went back to their homes. But Mary couldn’t leave…crying with even deeper sorrow she just stood outside the tomb.  Bending over she looked again in the tomb and saw two angels seated where Jesus’ body had been.  They asked her why she was crying and she explained that someone had taken her Lord away.  She turned around…so lost…and saw a man standing before her…asking why she was crying.  Not recognizing Jesus she asked if He knew where Jesus was….and if he took Him to please tell her where He was so that she could go and get Him.  Not knowing what else to do she just hung her head as tears dripped from her face.

At that, Jesus simply called her name, “Mary.”

She looked back at Him and cried out, “Rabboni!”  She threw herself at His feet hardly even hearing Him caution her not to hold on to Him…for He had not yet returned to His Father.  All she could say was, “You’re alive…you’re alive…you’re alive…”  He instructed her to let the disciples know…and she ran like the wind…

 ______________________________

Now how awesome is that?

I wonder when Mary met Jesus that first time if her grieving face in the future flashed before His eyes…I wonder if He already knew how many tears she would shed for love of Him.  I know with all my heart that not one of her tears was wasted.  In fact, I know that He still has them all.

He has yours and mine too.  That’s how valuable we are to Him.   We are the point of it all.  And that’s love.

Creative fiction – story 2

Patti Corbello Archer

August 13, 2011

The Leper’s Miracle (Story 1 of 3)

leproseyHave you ever heard the phrase, “Jesus will meet you at the place of your need?”  Simplified it means that you don’t have to let your need or situation keep you from Him – rather let it draw you to Him.  You don’t have to whitewash or remodel your life before you hit your knees, surrender, and reach for Him.  He is NOT afraid, or surprised, or intimidated by anything in your heart, your mind, your body or your soul. In church I had heard that Jesus would meet me at the place of my need.  Thank God we learn that Word in church!  But what was life transforming with that word…was watching The Word really meet me at the place of my need…as He stepped into my life in my home and in my heart.  When I really got it…really realized that He is the living Word…alive always and not just words on a page… I studied the Word and learned so much about Him personally…and began to receive, imagine, and creatively see Him in my life.

So with that purpose in mind, today’s story is creative fiction based on scripture.  However the revelation with which I write this story is straight from the throne of God. I write from a heart that knows the touch of my Healer.  I pray that you do too.  If you don’t know Him…I pray this introduction to Him leads you to seek Him…and find Him.

For many reasons we seek Jesus.  I sought Him to know love and acceptance.  Maybe with others, trauma or physical needs certainly remind us we need a savior. Basically the whole human race has known sickness or illness. Some have even known what it was like to be an outcast or shunned.  I dare say many of us have known shame or condemnation.  I know too that disfigurement can isolate many.  But I feel sure that all of us, at some point in our lives, have known rejection or fear…and the results thereof.

Just over 2000 years ago…written in Luke 17:11-19, there is a story of a group of lepers who brave public ridicule; shame and punishment just to try to get within earshot of Jesus – close enough to call out for His help.  Their story has always intrigued me as being kind of scary and mysterious.

Do you think this couldn’t possibly relate to today?  Do you read past that scripture like it was an ancient disease unrelated to our lives? Do you know that Louisiana used to have the only Leper Colony in the United States…one of only a few in the world?  The Hansen’s Disease Museum is now in its place.  Do you know that Louisiana still has the highest incidents of leprosy in the United States?  While treatment is now readily available to prevent the disease from being what it once was, it still has a slightly scary connotation.  Can you imagine what it would have been like well over 2000 years ago without medicine?  Can you imagine the mistreatment to those stricken with the disease because of fear?

When I read Luke 17:11-19 now, I see men that would sacrifice life if need be to do anything for a miracle from Jesus.  So come back with me many, many years ago…and see what I see…

 _____________________________________

It was dark in the tunnel as Josiah shuffled up through the darkness heading for the entrance to the cave.  Being the youngest in a group of ten men, out of respect he let the older men walk ahead of him on the narrow stone steps. “Respect” he grimaced in thought to himself.  There was no respect in this life.  He was a leper now.  So were the other nine men – as well as hundreds of other people left down in the catacombs throughout this leper colony.  He used to be a real man – a Samaritan warrior – strong and agile – and he had worked hard to build a small stone house for his wife – his Tamara – heavy with child the last time he saw her.  He wondered what the baby was and if they were okay…does she even think of him anymore?  After all, 18 months is a long time.  That was how long it had been since a soldier raiding party saw the rash on his hands.  It didn’t take long for the authorities and community to banish him from all that he had ever known and loved.

He never knew how much he had taken for granted before.  He missed his beautiful wife, the sunlight, working with his father and brothers, fishing for supper, enjoying a meal that his mother and wife had cooked, and especially touching the belly that held his son or daughter. There was none of that in his life now.  “Sunlight” and exposure were now his enemy.  He was banned down in this dark world of lepers.

He had made good friends this last 18 months – even there.  There were people that he cared about in the colony.  After all, this was his new family.  But watching them suffer was so hard.  Feeling his own pain as his skin and tissue began to ache, burn, and fall off. As a leper, touch became a memory and unexposed sin was unheard of.  There was always a need for more rags for diseased or rotting fingers, hands, feet, face, legs or body.  Especially today!

All lepers knew the rules and tried never to appear in public exposed and certainly knew not to get close to anyone.  They had to announce out loud publicly to all around them “We are unclean, unclean!” to warn the community that danger of contamination was near.  It was always so humiliating – in the midst of their physical pain.  But today was special and they were going to ignore the humiliation and pain!  Word filtered down into the colony that a man – a prophet and healer – was coming this way on his way to Galilee.  So a few of the brave leper men decided to risk it all and get as close as they could to this healer.  His name was Jesus and they heard that he could heal anything.  This was their only chance!

The ten of them finally reached the cave entrance to the colony.  It was early morning and the sunlight, though beautiful to behold, hurt their eyes from the disease as well as from the darkness. They shielded their faces but excitedly talked all at the same time – getting their plan together on how they were going to accomplish finding Jesus.

Josiah said, “Let’s go wait in the shade of the fig tree grove a short distance from the village.  We will be able to see them coming from the valley that way!”  The other nine men agreed and huddled together they hurried to get in place before too many people were out on the road.  They heard that a large crowd always followed Jesus so they wanted to be able to be in place ahead of the crowd – or no one would let them near him.  And there was always the danger of getting stoned if the public got too riled up and afraid of them.

The lepers were barely in place under the fig trees when the sound of voices came from down the road.  A dust cloud rose that announced it was a large number of people.  The ten men hid, waited and snacked on a few ripe figs…a treat to be sure!  With their hearts pounding Josiah and the other nine men all looked at each other…trying to be invisible to all…except the one whose gaze they sought!

The voices in the distance became louder and the dust cloud wider as everyone rounded the hill and began the steep journey towards the village.  No one was paying any attention to the lepers hiding in the fig trees.  The ten men looked over the men in the crowd…whispering to each other, “Which one is he?”

Then all of a sudden they knew which one he was.  It had to be him!  He wasn’t in front of the crowd of people…there were about 6 or 7 men in front of him and it looked like several men behind and on the side of him.  You could tell they were staying close to him.  He was wearing white linen and a tan robe.  He had long brown hair.  And what a wonderful laugh!  He laughed at the antics of children that ran around him to catch his attention.  He lifted one child and hugged him.  He reached out and touched the face of an old woman on the side of him.  He stopped and turned around and listened to the story of a group of teenage boys behind him. We were amazed to see that the eyes of everyone were on him.  Including ours!  He just seemed to draw you to him.

Well, it is now or never they decided and painfully climbed atop a large boulder. Then loudly the ten lepers called out, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”  A minute seemed like an hour as silence fell in the crowd.  Jesus turned around towards them. The lepers stood with eyes on Him.  He stood with eyes on them.  The lepers held their breath!  Jesus saw through not only their rags and disease but through to their hearts and He never hesitated. He simply said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”

With a dust cloud of their own they got off the boulder — hobbled painfully the first few steps, then each step they grew stronger and stronger as they began to run, and run, and run.  They headed towards the priests…free…Jesus said so!  As they ran, the rags covering them began to unravel and fall to the ground.  Looking down at their hands…their healed hands…they ran even faster with tears of joy rolling down smooth skin.

Jesus watched them go then turned back to his disciples and grinned.  The disciples were still watching the lepers run off down the road.

About noon as Jesus walked through the village, He heard someone whisper to Him.  He turned around and saw a young man dressed in leper’s clothes – but with healthy skin standing there.  Josiah began to praise God in a loud voice and threw himself at Jesus’ feet…and thanked Him.

Jesus watched Josiah reach out slowly to touch His feet…after 18 months without having touch in his life.  Then Jesus reached out His hand and touched Josiah.  Josiah looked up and Jesus asked him, “Were not all ten cleansed?  Where are the other nine?  Was no one else found to return and give praise to God?  Rise and go…your faith has made your well.”  Josiah rose, hugging Jesus, and with tears in his eyes began running home…really home!

Jesus laughed joyfully and said to himself, “Run Josiah, run, you have a baby daughter to meet.”

 _____________________________

While this may be my vision of what might have happened that day, the point of it all is that Jesus still has real encounters with us…just ask Him.

Creative Fiction  3-story series

Patti Corbello Archer

August 12, 2011