The Real Deal

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. – 1 John 1:1-4

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An image from my 2016 Portfolio “Unsung Heroes: A Visual Parable” These images remind us that just as many things are working behind the scenes, and without our notice, so God is holding all things together through the word of his power. We often take his presence and protection for granted.

My son and I had a good visit the other night – the night before his wedding. It wasn’t the usual pre-wedding advice kind of talk, but a conversation about a wide-ranging number of topics. We talked about politics. We talked about his job. We talked about some of his experiences growing up. We talked about the universe, galaxies, stars, and the possibility that we’re not alone in the universe. It was a faith-challenging conversation for both him and me.

In the end, however, I offered the idea that there are some fundamental realities that we have to deal with: good and evil, love, grace, truth. That seemed to have helped him a bit. It certainly does sustain me. In the end we didn’t even touch on the most significant touchstone of our faith: Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

John’s witness, however, is to the reality of Jesus’ life, suffering, death, and resurrection. He makes no bones about it: he saw Jesus. He touched him after Jesus rose from the dead (or at the very least Thomas did). He heard Jesus’ words of life, grace, and truth. This is the real deal. Through the real Jesus, we have a real relationship with the Father, and a deep and profound joy that is not fully expressed until we share it with others.

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