What you need to know:
‘‘That must be one reason why He rejected a political kingship, which would have limited Him"
Following Jesus’ triumphal return to heavenly headquarters, when the 11 and others – exactly 10 days later and thenceforth – pray to Him in absentia, one by one they experience a most unusual, supra-rational sensation deep in their insides.
What is that faint but unmistakable echo of their own voices intermixed with intercessory groaning in the deepest recesses of the inner being? What exactly is that interior dove-like flapping of wings as if, as if, as if –?
It is the Lord! It is the Lord! It is the Lord, pleading and supplicating and interceding and praising and exulting alongside themselves! It is the Lord, in the midnight stillness and pre-dawn quietude, audible to the inner ear, and tangible to the inner touch!
Ah! He has not gone away! He has not gone away but just turned a corner round the cloud, invisibly come back and – together with God the Father, set up their home in the heart of every one who loves Him! Ah, that is what He meant by ‘Behold, I am with you always’!
That when He was no longer exteriorly around, He would ensure that He is interiorly present, in the form of ‘another counsellor’, another manifestation of the Father and Himself, right in their insides (as later penned in St John 14: 23)! Ah, that must be one mystical reason why He rejected a political kingship, which would have limited Him to one physical throne situated in one geographical locality, such as Jerusalem.
And they recall the testimony of the two (Cleopas and his wife Mary) who walked the seven-mile journey back to their home in the village of Emmaus in the late afternoon of His resurrection day, arriving there just as the sun was setting and the chicken returning to the house to roost: how He simply vanished from the room and from their sight without needing to have the closed door opened.
They also recall how Cleopas and Mary had hurried back to Jerusalem to share their amazing story with the 11 and their close friends, finding them in an upstairs room – when He simply breezed in through the locked and doubly bolted door (for fear of unexpected attackers). And they figured that He had either invisibly walked back alongside the Cleopases – or He had reached Jerusalem the same instant as He vanished from Emmaus!
This is vision beyond what the eye can see. This is truth beyond what the intellect can comprehend. Yet this is experience rooted in history and living testimony. Oh, this everywhere-ness of God could be likened to men and women and children swimming on different shores of the same wide, wide sea without knowing their interconnected-ness.
And so as they go about astonishing the world with the strange story of His life, and turning that world up-side-down, and right-side-up, they affirm and demonstrate that the heavenly newness of being that is now theirs by divine infusion are both proof and foretaste, here and now, of the un-interrupted heaven of heavens to which He returned on His Ascension Day, and which they are to inherit through endless ages.
Of the beauty, and splendour, and radiance, and effulgence, and magnificence, and excellence, and blessedness, and sublimity, and superlative-ness, and indescribable-ness, and ultra-positive-what-can-you-call-it-ness of that mode of uttermost state of life beyond life, no metaphorical language of ‘melodious music’, or ‘priceless pearls’, or ‘royal robes’ may adequately speak. For the subject is nothing less than our exalted appearance in glorified and pain-proof resurrection bodies before the unutterable, compelling and impelling presence of the eternal Godhead.
And if we fail Him? If we fail to broadcast and to exemplify the staggering Good News of, (in the words of the well-known hymn), ‘That which He so hardly wrought/that which He so dearly bought’– what might be His Plan B?
His simple answer is: ‘I have no plan B’.
Prof Wangusa is a poet and novelist. [email protected]