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Friday, July 12, 2013

To Joy and Lyn: Into the Mnaymion

To my dear little sisters in the faith, Joy and Lyn, as you are about to embark on a mission trip to Bulgaria:

I am honored to be a part of watching you go, and helping in some small way by prayer support and other means. And I'm struck to the heart when I read the description of where you will be, and what life is like there for women your age, and how very much you have to bring, in God's providence, to a desperate need there.

Dear Joy and dear Lyn... I've seen you grow up these last few years particularly. It's a cliche these days to use the word "blossom" for young women, and yet, when I think of my own conversion to faith in Christ when I was just about your age, I remember that the only word I could use for what was expanding inside my spirit was "blossoming." So there it is. Blossom you have.

You both have in your physical appearance and form, and in your demeanor and the focus and drive of your hearts, the very essence of what I see as the beauty of womanhood. You are strong. You are lovely. You are kind. You are absolutely devoted to loving your Savior and reflecting him to others.

And I look at your families, and I see there the outpouring of affection for you both that reflects the favor your God has bestowed, poured out on you. You are adored! You are beloved! As well you should be! Precious pearls, treasured and nurtured and prepared for greater work, which you are now about to enter into.

And then, the darkness of the place where you are going. Where young women like you have, since their girlhood, been objects of consumption for others. Where shells of the light-filled creatures they were meant to be is all that exists. And I pray. I pray and I pray that as you go, the One who met the broken, empty, famished woman at the well in Samaria has in mind one or more of those broken vessels for you to help fill with the knowledge of the Truth: The way she should be loved.

The woman at the well came as a harlot. Empty. Needy. Seeking for anything to fill her. Water wasn't enough. Five husbands were not enough. I can almost hear her soul screaming for help. She knows she is going to die and she clings to the next person in the hope that that one will save her, even if just a little longer. But she came a harlot and she left a princess--a daughter of the Most High King, just as you already know yourselves to be. Oh, how He loves you so. There, in Bulgaria, a daughter awaits. She doesn't know it yet. She believes instead that she is a vessel of wrath, if her life has any significance at all. She gave up her soul long ago, because to live in what her life has demanded would have taken it from her anyway. Best to give it freely rather than hang on in that blackness.

Jesus once took a boat across a large lake for one single purpose: to meet and release one man from the demons that held him. He found him in the mnaymion. That's Greek for a word we generally just translate as "tomb." But it's not that simple.

There are two words commonly used for "tomb" in the New Testament. There is "taphos," which literally translates as "a receptacle for the dead." It's just a place for a corpse. It's a place for ending relationship and leaving behind for decay to set in. And then there is "mnaymion." And as much as we might call it a simple tomb, I have come to love the word "mnaymion." It really means "a memorial."

The demoniac lived in the tombs. He cried out and cut himself and represented the Living Dead there. He could not mix in society. He was isolated. Banished. His pain was so great that he sought to hurt his own body. All his power went into violence to rage against the despair of his living death. But he was not dead. No.

He was remembered.

Christ got in a boat. He crossed the sea. He went to the tombs--no, the mnaymion. Because he had not forgotten this one. This one that all humanity had given up hope for. This one that was living a life of death. And Christ remembered him. He touched him and cleansed him and gave him his life back. New. Meaningful. Healed. And then Christ returned to the boat and left him to a new life among his own people, to live the example of the healing power of the one who remembered him.

I think you, beautiful girls, my beloved friends, are going to the mnaymion in Bulgaria. You will get on a plane. You will cross the sea. And you will go to those tombs--no, that mnaymion. And somewhere there is one our Lord has remembered. I pray you find her. I pray you touch her. I pray you can communicate to her that she is not the living dead, but a Bride. A beloved Bride. And I am praying for her to see in you the purity and beauty and grace and mercy poured out on you, and drink of it for herself and know that it is hers, and has been, from all eternity.

Godspeed on your journey! And if it comes about this way, I pray you will let me know, so that I can give thanks for the remembered one by name.


Carolynn Markey said...

This was sweet! Wishing your sisters a safe trip!

--Rebecca said...

Thank you, Carolynn. And thanks for reading!