An Easter Reflection By Brandon Booth
My spirit flags when darkness falls. Every evening I feel it, that creeping desperation slowly and inexorably invading my soul. Like death.... This is true, at the last, Death meets us all.
I hear it too in the pages of every book I read; in the tap of every computer keystroke. The desperation of distraction. My own personal weaving of toilet cushions against the last day. This is true. At the last, we have nothing to show for it.
I see it, oh I see it! In the eyes of everyone I’ve hurt; the reflection of a man, a false self. Someone everyone admires, who is so wise, and who is always scheming and manipulating. This is true. At the last, we are all beggars, begging everyone not to notice that we are begging.
Behold! He stands at the crossroads and cries out: “Come hither unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!”
Yeah right. How could he? With him it’s all “Take up your cross” and “count it all joy” and “turn the other cheek.” What did he have to offer? Nothing. Except Himself. As if He were the cure. As if all His miracles weren’t the point but He was. But who was He? ... This is true. At the last, we are all beggars — even Him.
Even Him. The king. The Messiah. The God.
Is it any wonder than that on our knees, on our faces, stripped of all pretense, is the only way to come? If God Himself is “the way,” then this is true! At the last, we must all be beggars.
“No man can tell you how far you may succeed in becoming essentially a Christian. But anxiety and fear and despair help no one. Sincerity toward God is the first—and the last— condition. Sincerity in confessing to one's self just where one stands. Sincerity before God in ever aiming at one's task.
However slowly one may proceed, even if it is crawling—one is, at any rate, in the right position...
"And what, then, does all this signify?" It signifies that every one, in silent inwardness before God, is to feel humility,... is to confess sincerely before God what his position is, so that he may worthily partake of the grace which is offered to everyone who is not perfect, that is, to everyone. And it means no more than that.”
Except that this is not really quite true. Oh it’s true that at the last we are all beggars, but at the last what? See, “at the last” is very different from “in the end.” At the last night it’s, “my God, my God.” At the last hour it’s, “I thirst.” At the last breath it’s, “It is finished!” But that’s not the end.
It wasn’t of Him, and it’s not of us.
Because when the work is all done and the day is over, then, at the last: we begin.