Written by Carole Reardon
It is cold and windy in North Texas this morning, but I spied tiny acorns on my small oak tree, acorns packed with all the secret information that, combined with water, sunlight, and nutrients, are capable of becoming whole Live Oak trees. It is Autumn, in a few weeks it will be Advent, and that tiny oak tree is preparing the way, sending forth Life in the confident expectation of Spring and resurrection.
They had their suspicions, the Twelve, I am sure. They witnessed miracles and heard teaching unlike any other, but an itinerant, zealous, son of a carpenter telling them to love everyone was not what the Jews of the first century were expecting. They were expecting a Warrior-Prince, come to kick Roman butt out of Jerusalem.
But at last, in Matthew 16:13-20, after years of schlepping through the countryside with Jesus, he comes right out and admits it: no parable, no question-answered-with-another-question, no dissembling, just Yup, it’s Me. I am your entirely unexpected Savior, capital T capital M, The Messiah. Then he swears them to silence, and just thinking of trying to keep that secret has me thinking, poor dudes…
We all keep secrets. Big secrets and small, bad secrets and good ones. Gospel literally means, Good News, and so I find myself thinking of those poor dudes, the Disciples, curiosity finally satisfied, yet grappling with a very different reality then expected, and forbidden to tell anyone. It reminds me of when I became pregnant with my daughter and, because things can happen, we decided to keep the news to ourselves for the first trimester. It was the hardest secret I’ve ever kept. It almost burst out of me with every conversation, it was all I could think about 24/7 and, when I turned the page on that twelfth week, the dam finally burst and I babbled forth to anyone who cared to listen (and quite a few who didn’t) all my expectations and plans. How did those poor dudes get through the next weeks or months, town to town, listening and watching, stuffed like ticks on a hound dog with the Truth of who Jesus really is?
How did they wrestle with the knowledge? Thomas probably doubted, some maybe felt like the missing puzzle piece was found, surely others needed a bit of quiet, thoughtful time reconciling their expectations of Warrior-Prince against the reality of the Prince of Peace.
We don’t know what they felt when they learned, for sure, the Truth. We do know that what they witnessed kept them at Jesus’ side, acorns of Autumn, willingly sown in the confident expectation of Spring and resurrection. We the faithful are their seedlings, growing in faith and preparing the Way for the next generation, confident in the expectation of Spring and Resurrection.
Carole Reardon is a blogger and photographer, and a parishioner at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Prosper, Texas.