Questions are easy to ask, but at times, impossible to answer. We all have ambitions, dreams, and plans—pathways we intend to travel to reach a particular destination. But those pathways that we so long to travel are rarely those we find ourselves upon. In the midst of placing one foot in front of the next, so careful as to not lose our footing, we can find ourselves in unfamiliar territory. This was my experience ending up at Briercrest—this strange institution in the midst of a small prairie village. I arrived on the doorstep,, filled with visions about what this experience would hold and how I would be shaped.
I recall sitting at the back of a class in the winter semester—a class on John’s gospel. The room was filled with students eager to learn. The course was filled with students from varying programs and backgrounds, coming together to study the Bible. The task seemed straightforward: we would work our way through the gospel of John. Throughout the course we would discover the wider contours of the narrative, learn to conduct close readings, become familiarized with textual issues, and cultivate an understanding of John’s relationship to the Synoptics. To be honest, at the time, I was not sure what most of those things meant.
I found myself in the midst of deep wrestling—wrestling with the critical complexities of the course, learning to read and understand the biblical text in ways that I had never experienced. It was simultaneously deeply challenging and invigorating.
I slowly learned to become a better reader of the gospel. It took a deconstruction of sorts. And in the midst of deep study, confusion, and at times doubt, I felt my heart strangely warmed.
I was no longer simply studying Jesus; I had begun to encounter Jesus. He spoke, and I recognized his voice. It was as though I had never encountered him. It was as though I had never heard His voice before. Something came to life that previously had been dead. I beheld the Word made flesh—I saw His glory! And the beauty of His glory flowed in to recognizing greatness of His calling: “there is no greater love than this, but that one would lay down His life for His friends.”
He layed down his glory. Jesus layed down his very self in order to do the will of the Father. This was the voice now summoning me to follow; I heard the call to follow for the first time.
Through the deconstruction and the wrestling with the complexities of deep study, I met Jesus. I have been profoundly shaped by this small prairie village and this strange place called Briercrest, and this has completely changed the trajectory of my life.