Have you ever noticed what you never notice? Or see what you normally pass right over? This sometimes happens to me when I look closely at words. Like “kneel.” If you look closely, you’ll see a really strange combination of letters that make a sound that doesn’t really follow. When did the “k-n” combination sound only the “n” anyway? Although “kneel” is a word and there are hundreds and thousands of words, it stands apart from them all because only “kneel” is kneel. If we take time to notice the things we look right past, we’ll see there’s a kind of separateness or distinction to all things. To our speedy eyes things may blend together, but upon inspection, they are as varied as ever if only we’d take the time. But, in the words of the Merovingian, “no one ever has time unless they take the time.”
Time and separateness: these things are strangely related. Take our Bible reading plan. Today, we are in John 19. After chapter 18’s conclusion with Pilate’s interview of Jesus and His astounding words about His kingdom, in chapter 19 we are confronted with His humiliation, His crucifixion and His death. This is the most terrible story of all time. Can you think of a worse one? Or, are you like my kids who had varying degrees of glazed-over looks because of the sheer commonality of the story? When the gospel was first “news” to us, it was indeed shocking and troubling. But, then, over time, it wore off. Now, Easter is more about bunnies, candy and the end of Lent for too many people.
Just think about that: “They [soldiers] came up to Him saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck Him with their hands” (19:3). They struck Him. Slow down and read that again, “they struck Him.” Are we not flabbergasted with this report? The Creator of all things (John 1:3), the Beloved of God (Matthew 3:17), struck by men. No. We have lost the terror of the holy. Those things that should command our attention because they are special, distinct, and separate do nothing to us. Instead, we are consumed with the common.
It is not surprising that since we have lost the terror of the holy, we have little regard for holiness. It’s like witnessing gluttony over and over without seeing its vileness and becoming gluttons ourselves. If we saw the vileness of gluttony, we’d stray from the practice. I wonder if that’s why God has given us the Bible: so that we’d be able to look again and again upon the Holy so that we might be holy. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 3:18,
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.”
How does time factor into this? Have you noticed the stars recently? How was that possible? More than likely you were on your way back from soccer practice with a pizza in your hand, getting out of the car you happened to look up. Amazing isn’t it? There are so many other, more significant things to notice – what of the Lord of the stars? One of the effects of the life, death and resurrection of Christ is that you would be able and eager to look at the holy and be changed.
The Merovingian was right.