Jesus Can String Us Along

One Minister’s Musings

May, 2011

When we were in Santa Emilia, a group of people from a congregation in Oklahoma was building a house for a poor family in the village. We watched them clear the land and dig the ground to set a foundation for the small house. On each corner, a squared metal rod was measured, placed, and securely anchored. From that secured place, a string was drawn to yet another set of metal rods. This string was also carefully measured and tied into place. Along this guide, the members of the community laid the bricks following the placement defined by the string. Along this line, the community worked together to put the walls of the house in.

Our group had gathered and watched as the wall of bricks grew higher and higher, perfectly aligned with the string strongly attached to the corner anchor. Mortar was dumped, the brick placed, and then with a swift sweep of the trowel, the brick was tapped into place, and aligned with the others. The head builder kept saying to the bricklayers,  “Watch the line of the string.” “Pay attention to the guide of the string.” “Notice, is the brick is even with the string?” The mantra directed the work. And then we were invited to help and directed with the same mantra, “Follow the guide of the string.” And we did it, even those of us who had never laid a brick for a wall of a house. With this help and from this mantra, we have a St. Andrew’s row on the wall in that house.

In John 14:6, Jesus proclaims, “I am the Way, the Truth, the Life”. For me, these words are like that of the line of string used to direct the walls of the house. It is a guide to shape our lives as God’s royal people. It is said as a single reality.  “I-Am-the-Way-the-Truth-the-Life.” Jesus proclaims this not so much as a theological entity to dissect and analyze with distinct attributes, but to decipher and explain. Rather, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” is just followed. It is used to guide us over and over again. It’s like the string that guided the laying of the bricks. It is a mantra on which to meditate on and ponder with. And in the pondering, it shapes the walls of our priesthood, the house of many dwellings, and the ways of our being.

As Jesus is the way, we follow his guidance that leads us to justice, to healing, to inclusion, to peace, to forgiveness, to reconciliation, and to surprises beyond our knowing. Jesus strings us along. For his way is like the string along which we lay the bricks of our intentions, choices, and hopes for the sake of love in the world.


Pr. E


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