23 May 2020
Oh Rodney, today, I had a very real spiritual awakening that I want to tell you about, and I wrote it down so that I don’t forget it. While reading our daily devotional today, it talked about the hidden treasures of trials designed to shake us from our earth shackles and at the same time blessings to reveal the presence of God such as flowers, friendships etc. I can certainly attest to both today. I am truly blessed Rodney.
One of the scripture references was to a Colossians 2, 2-3 where Paul Was talking about the riches of complete understanding. I had the urge to read the reference in the Bible, not only the referenced verse, the entire chapter and thankfully, I have learned (mostly) to listen when that thought comes, act on it. I read it and found the reference to baptism and being buried and raised like Jesus who died and was buried and who rose again. It’s so simple and I’m sure I heard this when I was baptized at the age of 12-13, butI don’t remember it. I can remember thinking I wish Jesus would come now, because all of my sins are gone, I would enter into the kingdoms of heaven, but I don’t remember the symbolism to Jesus’ death and resurrection. I then wanted to read every reference to baptism in the Bible (using your Bible Rod, the New King James’version with the topic index at the back) , and I did just that..not only the verse, every chapter. I am amazed!
In 1 Peter 3:20-21 Peter refers to Noah and the flood where only 8 souls were saved in the flood..a story of death and life by water. A powerful connection between the old testiment and new testiment. In this one passage it also links the resurrection of Jesus Christ to the act of baptism, and “the answer of good conscious towards God”. Wow! So powerful!
In The 3-4th chapters of Matthew where John was in the wilderness and Jesus went to him asking to be baptized. I imagined the awe that John must have felt, but when Jesus told him to do it, “to fulfill all righteousness “. What an order! And just after that Jesus fasted for 40 days (it’s hard for me to fast 3 days!) and was tempted 3 times by Satan and in the end prevailed. He then made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday on the donkey and colt which was referenced in Isaiah 9,1-2 (another link between Old and New Testament) .it had to be this way to fulfill the scriptures..Every bit of it and so much more that I don’t understand yet.
In one of the references Matthew 21, there is the parable of the 2 sons where Jesus has just turned over the tables and cleared the temples of the merchants, and the chief priests and elders are asking Jesus in whose authority he has done this. Jesus replies with a clever question: Did the baptism of John come from man or heaven? Of course they knew he had them, and they answered, they didn’t know..so he didn’t tell them the authority answer they wanted. Jesus went on to answer them in a parable of the two sons and the wicked vine dressers ..(which I don’t remember ever studying before, and even now, I’m not sure to fully understand).
All of this to say Rod, it’s been an enlightening morning…one I hope not to forget..one of curiosity, learning, gratitude and so many other emotions.
To my limited understanding, this all started years ago when I was baptised at the small little Church in Germantown, KY during a revival. Little did I know the path my life would take and how we would be joined together and the places we would go. Years later as we prepared to go to China, my Aunt Freda gave us this book of devotions called « Jesus Calling ». You Rod, suggested that we read it aloud together every morning, and we did, often looking up words we didn’t understand and remembering listening to the etymologist John Charty NPR segments about the origins of words and how much we learned!
After you died Rodney, I needed the comfort of this habit of our devotional times and during my heaviest periods of grief, my heightened sense of curiosity lead to a deepening and continuous improvement of my understanding what it means to be a Christian. For that I am so grateful. It really is a new chapter in my life..one that I didn’t want without you, and am slowly learning to live. Could it be that you had to die for me to search these truths in my own? I don’t like to think it, but it may be true. At any rate, I just wanted to thank you again for all the things you taught me when we were together here in this earth. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You have been my spiritual leader and teacher in so many ways Rod..and more is being revealed as I am ready to understand…like today.
There is a saying, alternately attributed to Buddha Siddhartha Guatama Shakyamuni and the Theosophists, that goes: « When the student is ready, the teacher will appear ». Regardless of who came up with it, I’m living it, I know it to be true in my life today.
You will always be the love of my life Rodney..physically, emotionally and spiritually. You remain right behind my eyes. I ask God to bless you in your mission now Rodney..however that works ..it’s beyond my comprehension now, I just know you told several of us before you died that you will have another mission. I’m sure you are doing it and blessing all those around you, in your special way. I love you Rod, I will Always love you and so look forward to our reunion.