"I did." Jesus said while warming himself at the fire. I sat there no knowing what to do.
"what did you think?" I murmured. He stood there and didn't answer my question. Instead, he went to the opposite wall and walked up to a book shelf that was mounted there. The book shelf was filled with what looked like photo albums. He starts to look through the pictures and he smiles. He giggles a couple times to himself and moves on to the next album with excitement. I look into the fire and speak again.
"You really shouldn't have thrown it into the fire... I wish you'd say something."
"What do you want me to say Matthias?" still looking through photo albums.
"How I am the one who deserves to be thrown in that fire. How everything I do doesn't work and how I shouldn't do ministry and how I should just quit, because I would fail at it anyway!" Jesus flips through the pages, half listening. "You said you read that?? I don't believe you! If you did you would have seen that I deserve crap, you would be yelling at me or punishing me, telling me how much I freaking deserve it." Jesus puts the photo album back gently. "DO YOU HEAR ME?!?" I run over and flip over the couch and fall down burying my face in my hands. Jesus sits down next to me and hugs his knees.
"Hey, it's ok..." I don't say anything.
"You're right you know." I look up shocked.
"That's what you deserve." He looks into the fire and his eyes start to get shiny. "Look in the fire Matt." I look and the book is laying face open in the fire. The pages are burning slowly in the yellow light. There all pictures...of him...on the cross. "I took that!" He picks me up to my feet and grabs my shoulders firmly and looks me right in the eye. "All of it! Every mistake, every ounce of shame and guilt that SHOULD be on your shoulders I took on mine. Every bad decision that led to more bad decisions." Tears start to roll down my eyes.
"YES! You did, you screwed everything up Matt. Everything I have ever given you, you have one way or another used it for your own gain, manipulated it, or discarded it. I give you Love, and you squander it and horde it, I give you peace and you go and create you're own drama that you can control. Matthias, I have witnessed every selfish action, every lustful effort to fill what only I can fill, every prideful attempt at self promotion, every dishonest decision that you swept under the rug. I have seen everything. And you know what??" My knees start to buckle. He holds me up. "I still Love you! I not only Love you Matt but I like you. You are everything that I am purposing you to be. I am at work Matt. You are forgiven and Loved by me." I stand there speechless. He goes over and pulls one of the photo albums off the shelf and comes back, "Look." I see pictures of us worshiping, or hanging out with the homeless, or laughing with my friends. "These are all the memories that I love, that I cherish in my heart, and that I see when I look at you." He goes back and set the book neatly back on the shelf. I slowly put the couch back and sit down and Jesus sits down next to me and puts his arm around me. We sit for a while when he gets up to throw a log in the fire, I look up and I see what looks like a multi story library. The stairs in the corner of the room lead to more and more floors of book shelves. Empty book shelves. I lean back into Jesus and fall asleep slowly looking into the fire.