Written on April 25, 2019.
Some years ago, six people, plus a captain, headed back to an island 47 miles beyond the border of shore, in the Gulf of Mexico. Our prayer before departure was that Pappa would make our threads so tangible, we would know beyond knowing that we were following Him fully.
Conversation between us was difficult as the waves were wild and the sky seemed split to spill, so we gave way to toss and tempest with our trust laid bare.
We had neared the “almost there” marker of our journey when we saw something so splendid. A part of creation, that should not have been, holy and hemmed in, despite the chaos of the ocean. A pelican.
This was our tangible treasure. And we all saw her in the same moment. Our setting was too wet for parchment and pen, so we each allowed the sight to be etched upon us. We asked. He answered.
The pelican was the state bird of the land we were in and came up over and again as we prepared. I’ve looked back to my journal from those days of readying and found that I wrote a phrase from the pelican’s purpose each time it surfaced and surrounded us.
“A pelican (or stork) is noted for her tender loving care of her children. During times of famine a mother pelican will peck her breast till it bleeds and feed her young from the blood. The mother will even try to resurrect a baby that dies with what pours from the pierced place. So nurturing is this mother, she will even care for young not her own.”
Sometimes etched things ease and enter their way past the surface of your now. And so it was for weeks, as I wrestled and wondered a question with Pappa.
O my father, if possible, let this cup pass from me. Matthew 26:39
My query was “Pappa, did Jesus truly ask you to spare Him?”
For some days my answer was a pelican filled remembrance.
And then I began to ask Jesus what His cup was. Truly was. Because my deepest dayenu depended on it. If He had only given His life for me, to me, He would always be my everything.
But there was a stamp and seal on the still of the story that was yet to be broken and I was desperate to open it, to tear wax from wood, so I might be torn as never before.
Jesus spoke old Galilean, a form of Aramaic. The word He used for cup is ‘kasa’ which is identical to the Hebrew word ‘kavas’ which is the word used for cup. And stork. Or pelican.
The word Jesus used for pass was ‘avar’ (also Aramaic) and paints a picture of a river overflowing its banks. A pass over that overwhelms. A Passover.
Jesus. Our sweet Jesus did not ask to be spared from. But for.
In the midst of their last supper together, Jesus took the cup. He received it. He told them the cup was His blood. That His blood shed would come from a vein of love so deep and a need to nurture so wide, it would overwhelm Him. Overcome the human of Him as Heaven hovered hallowed and heavy.
In His humanity, Jesus was not looking forward to torture, threat and trial yet He did not seek an egress from, but an entrance into the fullness of it. He was soon to feel the depth of humanities’ hell and the height of it’s Heaven. Because He was sinless He wouldn’t fully comprehend it until the moment He was rent and reconciled to it. All of it. Nothing missing. Nothing withheld.
At the dinner, He accepted it. In the garden, He reconciled to it. On the cross, He contained it. So we would never need carry it.
On gardened ground, He told His disciples, His friends, His brothers, His beloveds that His soul was sorrowful to the point of death.
His word to them, His sorrow, was ‘kamar’ which means “to burn or kindle.” It is a burning love, compassion aflame. His sacrifice, His cup, would draw Him so near to His Father and He would be filled with His fierce fire for the fellowship of mankind. All mankind. At once.
Intertwined would be the knowing of what our pain and suffering would be like. If not for Him. And the understanding that though this offering was the greatest offering, some would reject it and even mock it. He felt the anguish of His Father and the agony of His children. Within the moment of His lifetime.
And He said, “Even so, let me carry it. Let my flesh not fail as I am humbled for humanity. By humanity. Let me carry it until contained and concluded. Until all of creation is cross shaped. As I will be. As I Am.”
I pray you are as messed up as me.
David was a cup bearer and I am devastatingly captivated by a desire to bear cup too.
The Lord is my portion and my cup Psalm 16:5
The cup, this cup is:
Kap: To open, to allow, God hovering, container, potential, to release of give
Vav: To connect, to secure, to enter fully, to add, deepest intimacy
Samek: His glory, to support, uphold and lean upon, to be consecrated
To take the cup, to drink from it, is to allow Pappa to hover holy and open us to all He has to give so we may enter fully into His heart and His hope and capture, contain and cascade the weight of His glory so we might uphold Him and stable and support humanity in their quest back to Him.
The pictograph for samekh is a circle, a shield, a wedding ring. We do this, as He has done. For the fellowship of the ring.
This feels to glorious to bear, to wonderful to wield. Yet He gave His life, not just for us, but to us. To live. Fierce, full and fellowshipped.
My cup overflows. Psalm 23:5
I’m beginning to grasp. The cup, our cup is not about our trial and test, but about our thirst to be overwhelmed by Him, intersected with intimacy, feeling fully. With Him. Within Him. For them.
Pillared: Ask Pappa to reveal your cup and to let it Passover you for Pesach. Journal all He reveals.
Passaged: Let El Shaddai navigate you to a passage about a cup and drink from it until it becomes part of you.