February 23rd, 2007

rain with red heart

Second Day of Lent, John 1:29-34, The Dove

Today, on the second day of Lent, I have read John 1:29-34. In this passage the prophet John points to Jesus as the Messiah. John had recognized Jesus as the Messiah because he had seen the Spirit descending on Jesus. It had come as a dove, and stayed with him. It did not go away. It stayed. God had told John to look out for someone on who the Spirit descended and remained with him and that is what he had seen with Jesus.


Doves are bringers of peace and new life. It was a dove that brought back an olive branch to Noah to show him the flood was over and new life was possible. It were doves that were brought as sacrifice in the temple. And it is a dove that feeds her children out of her own. It was not a eagle that John had to look out for, a big and powerful animal, ruler of the heavens, no it was a dove, a peaceful dove.  
The dove foretells us what Jesus ministry will be about. Jesus ministry is about softness, about forgiveness. That would be Jesus’ life and his road: soft, sacrificing and life-giving as a dove.
I wondered today: “How on earth do I fit in this road, what is my place on this road of Jesus?” This is the question I have asked the tarot today.
The deck that I have pulled to use for this question (out of a bunch of five decks) is the Jane Austen Tarot by chelsearoad, and the card that I have pulled from it is Ten of Candlesticks (Ten of Wands). 

Pictured on this card is Anne from the book Persuasion. We see Anne playing the piano for people who are merrily dancing. Between these dancers is Captain Wentworth, now a rich man, different from earlier days, when he was poorer. The captain is flirting and courting in search for a wife. A long time ago Anne had been engaged to him, but she broke that, because her friends and family said he was socially and financially unworthy of her. She has always regretted that and is still single. There she is now then, head bowed down, in service to all the merry guests, helping the captain to another wife, surpassing and sacrificing her own desires and love for him.  
I am on the road of Jesus as Anne on this card. I, as Anne, playing the piano for merry partygoers, head bowed down, thinking all wrongly that I must forgive all and everything; that I must be soft with everybody; that I must bow my head and be in service. These are all demands that I cannot ever live up to. But I am having it all wrong, just as Anne is the wrong position in the ballroom. She should focus on her own needs and desires, dancing, flirting and courting Captain Wentworth. What I should do is focus on myself, on what I need so badly. I long for opening my heart to myself to let forgiveness, peace and softness flow into it. 

I follow the schedule of readings from: Dienstboek, een proeve, Het Boekencentrum, 1998.
Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

Third Day of Lent, John 1:35-42, Rabbi, Master

In the story from Scripture that I have read today, John 1:35-42, three man decide to see Jesus as their “Rabbi,” their master. They see Jesus as the Messiah, the one they were waiting for, the one who would save them and deliver them from their misery, and who could teach them important truths. These three man become Jesus first disciples. One of them, Simon, receives a new name, which is a sign of a new life that has begun.

I do not feel comfortable at all with these disciples. Just as I felt resistance against the other passages I feel it here again. You just go about calling someone your Rabbi and Messiah at the blink of an eye, as happens here. Would be kind of stupid is not it? God knows what you let yourself into…Yet, like the two passages I have read earlier this week in the these first days of Lent, this theme (following a master) is relevant for me. My soul and personality tarot card is the Hierophant, master of culture and religion in the tarot.

So, hmmm, a lot of questions are relevant here. Under what circumstances would I search for and follow a (religious) master? Who can teach me that what I need to learn in life? How does it feel for me to surrender myself to such a teacher/master? How can I compare the tarot with such a master.

From these questions I have chosen the following question: “Under what circumstances would I search for and call someone my (religious) rabbi/master?” I have used the Voyager Tarot for my answer. I have pulled the Moon as an answer to that question. 


The Moon in the Voyager is a card of longing and yearning, of wanting to merge and to connect deeply. The nose and lips of one of the two faces on the card is damaged, symbolizing a wound from way back. There is no centre on the card, at least I do not feel a centre; it is all rising and flowing. There no “me” and that is –however lovely the card is- the problem here.

I see myself in this card at a time when I was in a crisis and had lost my bottom and my centre.  I remember how open and vulnerable I was back then, reaching out for any, any help, I felt deep and many sad feelings and I had to trust and lean on others, for I could not lean on myself. I did not had a master then in the strict sense of the word, but luckily I fell into the hands of good people and they helped me to get my life and myself back together again. So it is not “Under what circumstances would I…” No: I actually have searched and followed a (religious) master! Funny how the tarot corrects me in that. To conclude, in times when I am in a deep crisis I am open to search and call someone a master, with all the dangers that go along with that.

Connecting the story with my own experience helps to understand and connect with these disciples back then who call Jesus Rabbi. They are like me. 

The readings stem from: Dienstboek, een proeve, Boekencentrum, 1998.