While stopped at a stoplight recently, I noticed a mom and her young son crossing the intersection directly opposite me. She held her son’s hand firmly in her own and walked to the other side purposefully and directly. Her son, however, had other things on his mind. He was perfectly enchanted with the broad, white stripes painted on the street marking the crosswalk. While his mom held his hand guiding him across the street, he jumped from stripe to stripe with clear intent not to touch any of the underlying dark grey asphalt. While Mom held his hand firmly and looked about for any oncoming cars, other pedestrians or large dogs leashed or no, he had his head bowed down concentrating earnestly on his leaping. He was in a state of pure abandonment to joy, completely trusting of his mother’s capability to both keep him safe and know where they were going. As long as he felt her firm grip on his hand, he could give himself entirely to jumping from stripe to stripe.
About the same time I caught this moment of tender trust between mother and child, I read a fantastically liberating quote from F. Dale Bruner in his exceedingly profound, The Gospel of John: A Commentary. In reference to the words of Jesus that John records in Ch.3, vv.14-15 (“You see, just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of Man has got to be lifted up, so that every single individual who is simply trusting may, by means of him, have deep, lasting Life.”) Bruner writes the following:
The condition, ‘who is [simply] trusting [ho pisteuon],’ makes the connection [to deep, lasting Life] so simple, puts the bar so breathtakingly low, and makes the connection with the hoisted one so utterly uncomplicated. No believer’s work is described only a decision of the most elementary kind is prescribed: the decision to believe…‘Trusting’ is all that is requested on the human side…According to this verse, how complex (from our side) is human access to divine Life? As complex as simple trust…the simplicity of trust is not at all an insignificant part of the joy of the Good News. No merit, deserving, struggling, steps, conditions, techniques, disciplines, or inward or outward ‘doings’ (‘works’); no emptyings or yieldings; no adverbs of ‘utterly, totally, completely, truly’ are placed on our back. Rather, and let us hear the promise one more time: ‘Every single individual who is [simply] trusting has, by [Christ’s] means, deep, lasting Life.’ May this simple gospel never be made more complex.
After reading the quote above, my thoughts kept finding their way back to the image of that young child letting his mother hold his hand and take him wherever it was that she willed. He didn’t bother looking up to see if cars were coming at him, he wasn’t asking to look at the GPS on her phone so he could see where they were, where they were going and what path they would take to get there. He trusted his mom to take care of all those things. As long as she had his hand in hers, he got to concentrate on jumping.
Would that we all might let the Anointed One take our hands and jump.