At the end of the Gospel of John, the Evangelist makes the following claim:

This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written. (24-25)

This claim is the driving force behind “A Sunday Story.” Have you ever wondered about – for example – what happened to the Roman Centurion after he made his claim as to who Jesus is? Or maybe you have pondered, the woman who was caught in adultery that Jesus refused to condemn, what is her story? If you have, then you will understand the depth of the process called “walking between the lines.”
Each week (for the Sunday Gospel), our DRE, Earl Gervais will ponder the story, and share with you, what else might have been going on. Here is a brief description of how you can also join in the walking.


In my book, Walking Between The Lines: Some Stories The Bible Didn’t Tell, I offer an imaginative way of digging into the stories of Scripture. I suggest to the reader that when Scripture is opened, it can be read, and listened to, or even retold, from the point of view of someone who was actually there – from the words of the Evangelist, or even from the words of someone “who might have been there.” It is a process of allowing the beauty and the mystery of the stories to fill our imaginations, our hearts, and our souls.

The Basic steps are as follows:

·       Pick a story from Scripture, then read it. But don’t just read it, allow it to come alive within you, close your eyes, and BE THERE.

·       Start by choosing a character – one who is actually in the Scripture story, e.g. Peter, the Samaritan woman at the well, the Roman Centurion at the foot of the cross; or imagine a character who might have been there, e.g. the owner of the boat that Jesus took out into the Sea of Galilee, or maybe a very dear friend of Jairus, the synagogue official whose daughter was brought back from death, or as we will do in this weekly adventure, the daughter of the innkeeper, or a stable hand, a shepherd maybe, an apprentice to the magi, or any number of souls who could have been there – then allow that character to share their full story with you. (You will see what I mean as you read the stories found here.)

It is my hope, my prayer, that once you allow yourself to “walk between the lines,” you won’t be able to look at our marvelous faith story any other way. And I pray that God will whisper messages, and thoughts of peace and joy into your heart. Here, in A Sunday Story, I will offer to you a story that hopefully will take you to a deeper reflection of the Sunday Gospel. And should you wish, I welcome your thoughts, and your feedback. Just e-mail them to egervais@arch-no.org. Feel free to imagine your own stories of what could have been.


Week of  March 10 and 11

have you ever felt that you were meant to be in a certain place, at a certain time, for a specific reason. When you read this week's Sunday story, you will know that we are meant to be with Jesus...everywhere that He is.

To Know In Water And Spirit (John 3: 14 – 21)
The Fourth Sunday in Lent
Have you ever gotten the feeling that you were supposed to be in a certain place, at a certain time, for a specific reason? Well that is exactly how I have felt for a very long time. You see, I have been in the service of a very prominent Pharisee for as long as I can remember. My mother was in the service of Nicodemus’ mother for over thirty years. The bond that these two Hebrew women had with each other was so strong that Yahweh saw fit to take them both home on the same night.
Although I serve my master, Nicodemus, if any stranger happened upon us, they might mistake us for siblings. And even though it is considered against the law, I studied the Torah right beside my master. As Nicodemus’ read, I read. He would often say to me, and to those he trusted. “Atarah you should have been my teacher. I think Elohim implanted the Torah in your soul before you were born.”
 But, back to that feeling of knowing that one was supposed to be at a certain place, and time. Lately, Nicodemus had been coming home from synagogue and pondering questions about the coming of the Messiah. When we could find time together, we poured over all the mentions of Emmanuel, as Isaiah referred to him. One night Nicodemus came home with a look in his eye that I had never seen before.
“Atarah! I think the messiah might be here.”
I almost fainted.
“There is a teacher who has been performing great service in the name of the Lord. He has performed wonders that could only have happened if God was in him and with him. His name is Yeshua, and I plan to visit with him tonight.”
“Why at night,” I asked.
“Because, he has drawn the attention and the disfavor of the Sanhedrin. However, I must know more. There is a deep fire burning inside me.”
“So, go.”
“I will, but I want you to come with me. I need to know that this is not just some false hope. You understand the spirit and the heart, so much more than I do. If this rabbi is who many are saying he is, you will know.”
I began to feel a fire welling up in me as well. So, I put down my knitting and followed my master out the door.
“Where are we going, Nicodemus?”
“To Bethphage, he is staying at the house of an old friend of mine.”
It took us no longer to walk at night. The moon was brighter than I ever remember it being. It felt as though Yahweh was leading us, and lighting our way. When we arrived Nicodemus’ old friend, Jacob was waiting for us.
“Come my friend, the Master is waiting. He told me you would be coming.”
Nicodemus turned to me, “How could he know, I told no one but you.”
Jacob led us to a small house just outside the main house. There were several men there, I was the only woman present, but that did not seem to bother any of them. Usually in a situation like this, the men would be calling for me to depart. One man rose, and greeted us.
“Come, sit, I am Yeshua,” he said.
Then he looked at me, and his gaze went through my heart and I could feel his presence in the very depth of my soul.
“Tonight, you will come to know the wonder of God.”
Nicodemus spoke, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
Yeshua answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”
The man answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?”  Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?”
Then Yeshua looked once again right at me, “Ask Atarah. She knows. Her heart speaks, and she listens.”
In that moment it was like I was standing in the middle of a stream of fresh water, and the water was running over me and through me, and washing away all doubt and all fear.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?  No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes, will in Him have eternal life.”
I knew in that instant, I was standing next to the Son of Man, the Emmanuel that Isaiah said would come into this world. Yeshua went on…
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
The teacher then sat back down at the table, and asked us to join him. He broke bread, and shared it with all of us. He talked of so many amazing things. As the early light of morning began to stream into the room. Nicodemus excused himself to leave. Yeshua and Nicodemus embraced, then Yeshua turned to me. He leaned in and whispered, “It is okay, the choice is yours. He will understand.”
As I followed Nicodemus through the main house, it was as though the fresh waters were once again flowing over and through me. Nicodemus embraced Jacob.
“I will see you soon my friend.”
Then my master turned to me, “You know how I feel about you.”
He knew.
“I must…”
Nicodemus embraced me. “We will see each other again. Of this I am certain.”
I watched as he walked away. I headed back to the room where Yeshua embraced me, and I began to wait on him.


NOTE: If you have missed any of the previous SUNDAY STORIES, just e-mail me at egervais@arch-no.org, and I will send them to you. There is a new SUNDAY STORY posted every Friday.