Come and See
I recently received an invitation to attend a conference where Christian theologians are going to defend the faith against deconstructionists. The best defense, the organizers claim, is wielding the sword of "propositional truth." After all, if deconstructionists maintain there is no absolute truth (oxymoron!), then the best thing we can do is to show them what is absolutely true: arguing for the verities of our faith one proposition at a time.
Ever since my first philosophy class, I've always been a bit suspicious of "propositional truth." My philosopher professor loved to show his students how absolute claims rarely bear the weight of careful argumentation. Like cracks in a concrete foundation, flaws in the premise of an argument eventually brings the whole house down. I decided right then I wouldn't ever find shelter from the storm of doubt in a house built on rationalism. One person's reason is another person's invitation to try to blow the house down.
Greek students know that "abide" or "remain" is a code word in John's gospel and letters. As a matter of fact, it appears so often, they get sick of seeing it. Abide here, abide there, abide everywhere. Abide, abide, abide. That's why most readers miss the irony of the question when a couple of would-be disciples of Jesus asked him, "where do you abide?" They had begun to follow Jesus because their mentor, John the Baptizer, told them to. Jesus, perhaps curious about their intentions asked them, "what are you looking for?" (Jo. 1:38). "Rabbi, where do you abide?" Jesus said, "Come and see."
I'm so glad he said, "Come and see," rather than, "I'm staying in Capernaum" or "The Son of Man has no where to lay his head" or "You have no idea what you're asking. Do you realize the implications of 'abiding'? That's one loaded question. Let's see. Some might say that I abide with the Father. Others might say that I abide in the hearts of believers. . ." or [I'm especially glad he didn't say] "split a piece of wood, and I am there; lift up a stone, and I am there."
Instead, he gave one of the most tempting, tantalizing, curiously inviting, intriguing, provocative, profound replies. Come and see. Come and see. Oh God, I'm so glad he said, "come and see."
Out of my wonder, sorrow, and night. Jesus, I come to thee.