Empty

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I eventually gave up on sleep.

My heart ached with emptiness as I went about my morning routine. I had hoped a new day would bring respite from the events of days past.

I felt completely empty, an unquenchable thirst had drained me, despite my attempts to console myself, leaving me barren.

I went outside to water the garden when a crisp cool breeze surprised me as it blew past, lifting the suffocating heaviness from the air. I lifted my head to see a crowd gathering down the street.

I dropped my water jug and ran towards them, desperate for something, someone to offer me respite from this vacuous affliction.

I crouched beside one woman who was relaying the most unbelievable story.

She said the man was no longer in the tomb. She said the man we had killed had risen from the dead!

My mind refused to believe it. That’s impossible, and yet she was sure of it. As she shared her story of the man they call Jesus something inexplicable happened, the pit of emptiness I had been carrying inside me started to lighten.

The tomb was empty.

And somehow this man, through his death and resurrection, had brought peace to me, a kind of peace that is beyond my understanding. As I listened my thirst began to be quenched!

I knew at that moment that I needed to know more about this man. I needed to talk to people who knew him, who know him! I needed to ask them how I can know him too because it seems he can reach into my ravenous void of restlessness and bring me peace.

Who is this man?

Jesus.

 

Jeremiah 29:13 .  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

#tryalpha

Thirst

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I’m not a morning person at the best of times, but the next morning I woke up feeling desolate, empty, parched.

The day before I sat for hours waiting for the darkness to lift, clinging to a rock, I lay on the ground as the earth shook violently.

And then it was over.

The man died, the man they call Jesus.

I still tremble when I think of it. I decided to shake it off, embrace a new day hoping I could put the man’s gruesome death behind me. I made myself a cup of tea to calm my nerves.

I tried to keep busy but my day felt empty, in fact, the more I tried to fill it up, the emptier it felt. It’s as though my soul was groaning, I felt incomplete, like a part of me that I couldn’t identify had been torn from me, I was thirsty, desperately thirsty.

I went out into the street hoping to escape my solitude. As I walked I saw men kneeling on the ground, beating their chests in anguish. The mood was sombre and I started to feel afraid.

What had we done?

What was this unquenchable thirst that had come over me?

I sought solace with a group of women who were gathered nearby. They were saying that this Jesus was the son of God and that he was being buried in a tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathea.

I couldn’t believe my ears, how could this man be the son of God, and if he was why didn’t he save himself?

I couldn’t sleep at all that night, I lay awake, hungry for answers and afraid that I might have to endure this ravenous void in my soul for the rest of my days.

Who was this man?

The Thief

I don’t normally walk up the hill, partly because it’s a rotting cesspit of death, and partly because it’s a hill and no one needs my calf muscles to get larger.

But I did today.

You could smell it well before you saw it. Dead flesh, maggots, years of human blood, layer upon layer, drying in the sun like decoupage from hell.

I don’t know why I went, only that the story of this man was too compelling. I wanted to see him for myself.

I followed the crowd, some seemed to be in an excited frenzy as if death had crept into their soul with writhing anticipation. Others were full of fear and uncertainty, astonished that this man was to be executed. What had he done? Why didn’t he save himself?

I shuffled along, somehow buoyed by the crowd, over rocks, and through the overgrown weeds. As I came to the top I lifted my skirt and worried that my shoes would never recover from walking through the trash and filth. I covered my mouth as flies started to swarm around me and the air became think and dark, as if death was taking possession of life with sly suffocation.

My stomach churned as I came to the summit. I couldn’t see him at first, a hefty crowd surrounded him. I squeezed my way through, my morbid fascination drawing me towards him.

I should have stayed home, perhaps.

My foot crunched beneath me and I looked down to see myself standing on the bones of others that had gone before him.

Golgotha.

I pushed on and stepped up onto a rock to see him.

And I did.

There were three of them, hanging like meat in a butcher’s shop from putrid logs of wood soaked in blood, vomit and human waste. They were pinned there with well worn nails, straight through their hands and feet.

I vomited.

I looked away, and as I did I heard one of them say “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.”

I swung around, keen to hear the man’s response.

Surely he will tell him it’s too late for him, he is a thief, he deserves his fate. Or perhaps he will ignore him, choosing to preserve each painful breath, to prolong his life, to keep his final moments for himself.

I’m still reeling from what he said.

He pushed up against the nail in his feet, giving himself a brief moment of breath from his lungs and in agony and compassion he whispered these words of comfort.

“Don’t worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise.”

Who is this man?

A realisation swept over me and I jumped down from the rock and started to run. Fear followed me as I ran, I tripped and fell to the ground. Tears fell into the dirt as I pushed myself up, willing my legs to carry me home. I scuttled down the hill and fell into the darkness.

The sky enveloped me. Darkness. Separation. Silence.

I waited...