Remembering and Realising

Grief is so spectacularly ordinary

As common as dust

Ever present in every day

If you choose to see

If you want to know…

As silent as breath

It festers in your neighbourhood

Its feral pulse never welcome

Its relentless pursuit exhausting

Brutal assaults begin afresh each day

Silent sinister voices enveloping

Whispering destruction

Affirming the utter pointlessness of 



To grieve is to wake each day

Only to remember what will not be

To make breakfast

While images scroll on the digital frame

Joyous times 

Now singed with sorrow

Callous reminders of what was – and

Never will be again

Lunch in Fremantle (with you)

Holidays in Bali (with you)

A surfless surf (with you) that Christmas at our local

Where we three still managed

To share one lumpy wave 

For a few laughter filled seconds

Of family fun

I remember… 

With a smile


Until it strikes me

Once more with blunt force

We won’t do any of these things again

They held no great value on the day

No special significance at all

But now they are savoured

Mused on

Bitter and beautiful mingled together

Because now they are all we have

Fond recollections of times we shared

Agonising memories of joy

In the simple act of remembering 

We realise

That this is what is left of you

Shards of memory 

Just enough to make us bleed

A comfort that tortures

But a pain we will endure

To savour the joy of the recollection


Now you appear in playlists

Your songs speak your voice




Social media memories

Sometimes inane and trivial

Other times harrowing 

In their reminder of loss

Conversations with friends

Proffer quirky memories 

Of times shared

Notes you scribbled on your computer 

Not expecting anyone would ever read

Are a part of you we now encounter afresh 

A balm when the pain takes us down

Or sometimes a stabbing jolt

Just when we had started to heal

No longer will you call while driving

Ranting angrily, at the crazies around you

‘What is wrong with you dude!?’

Nor will we wonder if you & Cosi are coming home for the weekend

But, oh we will wonder, but only for a moment

Of course you aren’t

We wont hear another word 

About the pile of dog turds that accumulated outside your bedroom window 

Allowing you to fart freely 

And attribute the blame elsewhere

Creepy Christians doing obscene things in Jesus name

Will not be called out with such offense

Or maybe they still will…

I hope we may be responsible for helping you 

Continue to raise your fist at such nonsense

We won’t lament the injustice of the world together

Although your pain 

At other’s suffering will always remain with us

We won’t wrestle demons together

Tussle with dodgy theology

Nor dream 

Of futures you and Cosi would share


Because you are dead

Yes dead

A harsh word

Like a clanging cymbal

It has no nuance

Possesses no manners

But is raw foul reality

A stench that now infests our lives

And can only be tolerated

Never excised



Following on from my last two blog posts a friend messaged me to say that my post on the absent father followed by one on beautiful generosity seemed contradictory. God has shown up plenty in my life and in many ways we have been super-blessed. So yeah – fair call – I have probably been sitting in the blessing space much more than I gave credit for in that post.

What fuelled the ‘disappointment’ was my inability to see healing come to parts of my body that are currently reliant on drugs for pain relief. I was in the middle of reading a book that is essentially a list of dramatic, miraculous healings – and yet my experience seems to fall outside of that arc. So my focus there was on how God shows up miraculously to help.

In my experience not so much, hence my faith and expectation for this stuff is somewhat limited. But it would be incorrect to say that we have sat on the suffering side of the equation for most of our lives. We have had our periods of suffering and our moments, but by and large we have lived a very fortunate and blessed life.

So if you read that post and wondered what the heck I was dribbling about then there’s some context. 🙂 And thanks for the feedback and heads up

Beautiful Generosity

All the ‘generosity’ pics were soppy so here is one of Sam feeling blessed out of his skin!

Over the last few weeks as I have been bumping into people and they have been asking about our experience of Sam’s death, the one thread that seems to have run thru the whole of this tragic situation has been the incredible generosity and kindness of those around us. We speak of the importance of being in community for all sorts of reasons, but I never thought I’d be so appreciative and overwhelmed by the kind of love and generosity we have experienced.

We were inundated with flowers, cooked for every night for over a month, given Uber eats vouchers we are still yet to use, had people do stuff around our home to help out, had friends offer valuable practical help with various aspects of the funeral, had people regularly check in and invite us for coffee and then various people and communities have passed the hat around and given us outrageously large sums of money.

It has been incredibly beautiful to be on the receiving end of this.

We often speak of the richness of community in tough times, but I sense it is often said somewhat optimistically – hoping that maybe the dreams we have of how our communities take shape may actually come true…

Our family has been wonderully supportive and generous.

Our street has showed us love and kindness beyond what we would ever expect.

Our churches at Quinns and Yanchep have both been places where we have been loved and cared for in many ways.

Our good friends have kept their fingers on the pulse & made sure we are as ok as we can be.

While it has been an incredibly difficult period, every time I stop and ponder how we have been cared for and looked after I am enormously grateful. So if you were one of those people who stepped up somewhat over the last 3 months then ‘thank you‘.

Enjoying the expressions of love and generosity has genuinely been one of the best experiences of my life.

Is God an ‘Absent Father’?

This quote from Tim Keller appeared on my ‘memories’ from Facebook today. I liked it in 2014 when he said it and I thought enough of it to give it a re-run today.

It’s a tough line Keller takes and one that does necessitate some explanation. As my friend Phil said:

I think that’s mostly true. But it sort of misses the grace that is part of God’s character. We’re not God and don’t think like him and yet put our broken hope in our understanding of his will. Sometimes we get that wrong.

It evokes some real tension. We can think of a God who came thru in the Exodus, a God who came thru for David when he was up against Goliath, a God who protected Daniel quite miraculously, and then the other 3 exiles who were thrown into the fire. On a more human level we see a God who came thru for childless Hannah with the birth of Samuel. That’s all true enough.

But then there’s the God who ‘didn’t come thru’ for Stephen in Acts 9 as he was killed, or for Paul as he endured multiple beatings and floggings. Many of the early believers were martyred for their faith. Where was God then?

Imagine the original quote as a continuum now. At one end is ‘I never expect God to come thru for me in a hard time.’ At the other is ‘I always expect God to come thru, show up and get things done.’

Where would you sit on a continuum like that?

And why would you sit where you do?

Where would the apostle Paul sit?

Before you read on take a moment to pause and ask yourself those questions, then I will answer with my own reflections.


Ok I hope you did that because it will give you an insight into how you perceive God. Is he deeply engaged in our lives or is he quite removed? Can we even tell?

On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being ‘never’ and 10 being ‘always’ I am probably a 2 or 3. I rarely expect God to show up, fix stuff, heal people, heal me even… I have some very low expectations in this regard. (The beauty of low expectations is that it’s hard to be disappointed…) Of course the corollary is that it can be very hard to be inspired by a God who doesn’t respond as I would hope. In this space faith is more dogged than spectacular and I sense its where many of us live.

As I tapped those numbers ‘2-3’ I felt disappointed – sad that my experience of God has me expecting so little – but that is reality.

I don’t know too many people who are up around the 8 or 9 mark on this scale. Maybe it’s just the circles I move in. But I know there are also people out there who expect the miraculous and often get it. Why?

If the line is a continuum between ‘blessing’ and ‘suffering’, then I find myself leaning towards suffering and rarely expecting blessing. James 1 flies to mind… ‘consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, when you encounter trials of various kinds, for the know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance…’ That feels like the mode I often find myself in, but I wish I could say ‘hey God healed me’ or ‘wow… God came thru in an incredible way.’ I wish my own experience of God was more dramatic and that I could speak of seeing him do incredible things.

It’s one of the questions that I have mulled around in regard to Sam’s death. Our presumption is that as he died God did nothing. Maybe that’s true… and it is then a question of reflecting on how we deal with that reality. However God may have been whispering in his ear to surface, to stop the chase, abort the mission, but maybe Sam didn’t hear, or just didn’t want to hear. I don’t know any of that for sure – I’m just speculating around the possibilities. Maybe God is more involved than we realise – we just tell him to butt out.

Either way he didn’t override the laws of nature so that Sam could surface intact. Keller’s quote seems to speak of a Genie like God, a kind of top level personal assistant who performs on demand. I just can’t even contemplate that as an image of God.

But if I forget Sam for a minute and ask ‘why doesn’t God show up more often in my life in truly tangible ways?’ I have to admit that I’m just not sure. It may be that I have low expectations from so many years in a ‘solid Baptist’ environment. It may be that he is present in ways that I can’t grasp. Or maybe he just quite literally doesn’t show his face. I’m certainly not a deist who believes God is completely absent. I sense we have moments where God seems to be present quite powerfully, but also long stretches where he feels absent or just plain uninvolved.

Could God be an absent father?

That’s a heavy tag to drop on God, but I know it has been my experience at times as it has others. “Where the heck are you? And why can’t I seem to get your attention?’

I wish I could ‘explain God’ better that this… I imagine the bottom line is that we just don’t know why he acts as he does, but he calls us to trust him anyway. Dogged trust is better than no trust, although I must admit that I would like to see my experience move quite a distance beyond it’s current location.

‘Dive Down Deep’ – Song for Sam

When Sam died and we were planning the funeral I said to Danelle, ‘I’d love to call Morro and ask him to write a song.’ But it felt a little awkward as we haven’t been in each others lives a lot lately and I knew it might put him in a difficult spot. I also knew he’d capture some of the raw energy and passion that I hoped people would feel around Sam, probably better than anyone would. Not to worry…

Then over the weekend just gone I receive a text from him telling me has written a song… would I like to hear it?…

His text came in as Danelle, Ellie, Cosi and i were standing in the kitchen together. ‘Yeah… we’d love to hear it…’ We think… unsure of what it might evoke…

So I hit play and let it roll. There’s just something about music and about good songwriting that can get into your heart in a way few other things can. As he sang the last line there was a very teary group hug. He had nailed it and he had taken right into the heart of who Sam was. (Is it was or is?…)

Thank you for a beautiful gift Morro.

I asked him if I could share it as I know some of Sam’s friends would love to hear it. Morro did let me know it was a very rough recording on an iphone, but I’m sure you will be able to look past that as you immerse yourself in the music and the lyrics.

On Saturday afternoon I sat and listened to it on repeat for about 30 minutes – just remembering the courage Sam developed and being grateful for the life he lived.

(For context, Morro is an old friend from church networks, he was the West Coast Eagles for chaplain for many years and we also connected a bit when he was one of the 98.5FM brekkie show hosts. Pretty sure it was him who got me the fortnightly gig on the show!)

Here’s the link to the song and i will post the lyrics below too in case anyone would like to read them, as well as a brief intro to what was ticking around in Morro’s heart as he wrote.

Dive Down Deep
( Song for Sam)

The day after the funeral I started writing a song about Sam and about the depths of grief we go to… and somehow holding on to the fact we know God is still there in those deep dark places…

They said he was afraid
You could’ve fooled me
There was courage in his eyes
As he rippled like the sea
With the sun on his face and a smile as big as the sky

He was rocking a six pack and two loaded guns
Who can wrestle their demons and bring them undone
Without hunting them down and staring them straight in the eye

Dive down deep
In the water and waves be embraced by the great mystery
Hold on forever like it’s your last breath
Be a friend to your fears
and stranger to death
I’m one with the silence
So stay in the wonder with me
And dive down deep

Life is for living
But how would you know
You were really alive
Till the end of the show
He was wringing it’s neck and was holding its face to the ground

Some have a passion
That leaves you in awe
Rising up like the ocean
And Its rugged and raw
With a love that is reckless and strong as it’s taking you down


Dive down deep
In the water and waves be embraced by the great mystery
Hold on forever like it’s your last breath
Be a friend to your fears
and stranger to death
I’m one with the silence
So stay in the wonder with me
And dive down deep


They said he was afraid
You could’ve fooled me
There was courage in his eyes
As he rippled like the sea
With the sun on his face and a smile as big as the sky…

60 – Just a Number?

So… 40, 50 and now 60 years old… Can you tell?..

I’ve noticed that we have all these things we say as we get older that imply age is an inevitable barrier to the full experience of life. You will have heard them;

60 is just a number…

60 is the new 50…

You’re only as old as you feel

I get it. I do. But it seems part of the intent behind these hurrahs is to stave off the experience of aging with the implication that the sheer act of getting older is to be regarded as a negative thing.

I understand that with age there does come limitation and a decrease in most bodily functions. So that’s the ‘downside’ (if that is in fact a downside – maybe it’s good to slow down). But there is an upside – in fact there are many of them and I take great joy in them. For example;

Identity – I now know who I am and I am ok with me – mostly… Let’s be real – aspects of ‘me’ still need attention, but for the most part I know who I have ‘become’ and the trajectory my life is on and in that I am content. I feel like I have come to grips with the fact that my ‘one job’ in life is to keep moving, allowing myself to be formed in Chrst-likeness in all that I say and do. In one sense that is really hard as it involves a surrender of will, but in another it is equally simple if I can daily, get the ‘surrender’ part sorted. I’m getting better at that as it’s been a focus for many years now and it is coming more naturally. If I can stay on that trajectory then I don’t expect 70 or 80 to be difficult birthdays.

Contentment – Rather than moaning about the capacities I don’t have I can be appreciative of those I still do have. I can’t surf big waves any more… But I can still surf and this week 4 of us hit a little bay on the Coral Coast for a morning of fun waves and it was one of the best experiences I have had in the last little while. Lately I’ve been learning stand up paddle boarding for the first time (which is trickier than it looks…) and I’ve been hitting the local 4wd tracks on a fat wheel electric mountain bike, enjoying the seclusion and the challenge of riding random bush tracks, sometimes getting lost, occasionally getting launched over the handlebars, but mostly just enjoying the exhilaration of a new experience. I may not be able to run any more as my knees are shot, or even play veterans basketball (one groin strain = 8 weeks out) but there is still plenty I can do and that is good.

Contribution – I don’t think I have ever had as much to give as I do in this stage of life. At 60 I know stuff, I have experienced a lot and I even think I may have moments of wisdom. The challenge is to make investments of energy rather than just throwing myself at anything and everyone. I stepped back from senior leadership in our churches to allow some younger men & women to step up. I hope that more of my future will involve standing alongside younger leaders and supporting them as they figure stuff out. I’ve been listening to the Spirit for younger men who I can be praying for and available to. Each morning I pray for these blokes. It’s a somewhat random list and some of them would have no idea I pray for them. But – that’s also one of the things I can definitely do with my time – pray. It’s not sexy work – but it’s important stuff us older people can do.

Discerning Challenges – I want to both practice contentment and pursue challenge. I have seen too many people shut up shop in their later years and simply live a self centred and easy life. I remember hearing one man tell me that he turned the TV on when he got up and off when he went to bed late at night and his life revolved around this focus. I guess that’s one way to spend your twilight years…

I find enormous inspiration in what Caleb said to Joshua when he asked him for his share of the land they had taken:

“So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”” Joshua 14:10-12

The bloke is a beast! He’s 85 years old and ready for whatever life may hold.

So, I am listening for the challenges that I am to accept and pursue. There are soooo many things I could do with the time I have, but with this portion of life feeling like the ‘home stretch’ where every movement counts, I don’t want to waste valuable time and energy on things that don’t matter.

Freedom – We have had the odd discussion around getting another dog. But it’s a completely vexed conversation. Instagram and Facebook show us adorable puppies and the idea of a furry friend is wonderful… But reality is that acquiring a dog would impact significantly on the freedom we have to respond to whatever needs or opportunities we might see. You can’t just ‘lock and leave’ when a dog is involved…

I’m still used to saying ‘we have adult kids’ – even though we now only have one daughter, but she is an adult and fairly independent and (with the exception of this period) usually not so in need of our time. So we have a significant amount of freedom to pull stumps for a period and go work somewhere else. We were going to be helping out Marg River Baps over the next 6 months, but Sam’s death means we are all taking a breath and recalibrating our bearings.

But with a decreased need to earn $$ we do have a much greater degree of freedom than ever before.

Anticipation of Heaven – To be honest I hadn’t given much time or thought to what happens after this life here and now, but Sam’s death forced me to ponder it more deeply. The first thing I realised after he died was that my ‘hope’ was a deeply embedded conviction and not just a ‘theory’ I hoped might come true. I wasn’t panicked or disturbed about where Sam may now be – and while I am deeply sad at losing my son, I find myself actually looking forward to the day when we will be reunited. I find myself beginning to anticipate a form of life that at this stage I have very little clear description of what shape it will take. So my pondering around the next life has formed a much stronger anticipation of its inevitable reality – and I am really pleased at that.

So that’s just a quick list of up-sides to aging that popped into my mind while I was sitting here pondering the actual experience of ‘being 60’. If I can dodge the various health bullets that seem to take out blokes my age then I reckon there are at least 20 good years left! And after that who knows…

I’m really hoping and expecting that the best is yet to come!

Voices at The Table

In my mind there is a table

Where the Voices come to meet

To call for my attention

To contend for my heart

And my will

My future even

Some speak loud and often

They are bold and crass

Others are silent

It feels like patience

Rather than reluctance

Some are sullen and dark

Destruction and Cruelty

Devious voices

They caw in my weak moments

And gnaw at my hope


There are voices who appear not to speak

But rather intimidate with their presence

Confusion and Fear

Waiting to pounce

They seem to say 

‘So what now?…’

‘What’s it like to be utterly lost?’

Doubt whispers, stirs darkness,

Smirks and sneers

‘Maybe the world is not as you see it?’

‘Nothing really matters’

‘Does it?’


Hope waits patiently

Smiles at Doubt, Confusion and Fear

Resolute and secure

I wish she would speak more often

But sometimes it is in the absence

Of words that her confidence and grace

Are best experienced.

I need hope to use her voice

To shape the conversation


Meanwhile Determination squares his chin

As if to say

This will not end you

It may break you

Shatter you even

In time it will reform you and

Endow you with a knowledge

You may wish you never had

But it will not undo or destroy

Of that he is confident.


Peace observes silently

Breathing deep calm

Into everything

Because there is no rush

There is nothing to fix

Grief will set its own pace

Weave its own path

I trust that Peace is reliable

Faithful and true

An ever present friend.


Trust waits quietly

She never pushes in

Or calls for my heart

She is used to being thrown off

The scapegoat for Destruction’s work

She has been here before 

And she knows the path

She gives space


Love just aches 

And bleeds

Wants to repair

To rewind

For one more chance

(Just one?…)

But can only weep at what has been lost

Love speaks little but

Her sorrow is unmistakeable 


And so I choose each day

Whose voice I will allow to speak

Where I will place my heart

Whose words 

Will shape my path

And my future.

Waves of Finality

I’ve heard it said that grief comes in waves. The weekend just gone was difficult as Danelle had brought home Sam’s ashes and what was left of his possessions. Several boxes of stuff – some of it sentimental/memorabilia type stuff, some practical, tools, clothes, physiotherapy instruments and the usual junk that we keep in our bedside table.

We sat down Saturday afternoon to sort – but it just felt very heavy – very much of a reminder of his non-presence any more – of the utter gone-ness of his being and the sheer finality of the whole thing.

Clothes, trinkets and some ashes  in a plastic container… with accompanying death certificate… It’s confronting to see a human body reduced to ashes. It’s unbelievably sad when it’s someone you love this much. I haven’t had too many super -sad days in the last week or two. (Of course then comes the struggle of wondering if you are a heartless bastard who has simply moved on.) I have gone back to work, kept the exercise regime up and managed to balance whatever social commitments we had without much anxiety or pain. I watched the Danelle and the girls really finding it hard over the weekend while I was doing OK. ‘Grief comparing’ – you know it’s dumb but you do it anyway.

I chose this picture to put on my phone as a lock screen. I had the other one below initially but the challenge of looking at this larger than life grin rocked my heart every time I opened it up – so I swapped it out.’

But after a week of the black and white, back view I decided to switch back. I feel like I’d rather look him in the eye and suffer the daily wrench than look at his figure from behind and maybe pretend he hasn’t really gone.

Today I was at the gym and it is amazing how much comes at you in that hour. I was listening to Greg Boyd on a podcast, while gym music played and two different tvs showed two different programs complete with subtitles. Was it any wonder I lost count of my reps! Trying to concentrate on a theology podcast with all the other noise is pretty hard. And then you add to that the ‘background background’ track that plays just reminding you that life has changed for ever.

I have used the image of having a ‘room’ in the back of my mind that opens on one side to a Narnia like place – I guess it’s heaven (however that looks) and on the other side is my consciousness. Some days I intentionally ‘open the door’ and let Sam in – I muse, feel, smile and weep. Other days I leave it shut. Then there are the days he barges in all guns blazing and I am overwhelmed and caught off guard by his presence. I haven’t ever felt like I want to ‘lock’ the door so I imagine that is a good thing.

For some reason it was the gym where a wave of grief broke today – just enough to throw me off balance and drag me under for a brief rinse. A flick thru my photos as I rode the warm down bike was enough to throw a spanner in the works.

I have kept the photos from our identification of him and from when they were returning on the boat. They are heartbreaking to look at – but somehow I feel like I want to see them every now and then to remind myself that he is not gone on a long holiday – instead he is just gone forever. It’s been the hardest part for me to grasp.

People have asked me if I’m angry, but I’m not – just deeply sad to a depth I didn’t realise was possible.. Somehow as my brain ‘does the maths’, I feel like I have no one or nothing to be angry at. I was angry at Sam initially as he had told us of close calls with blackout, but I only have to remember my own teen years to know that I did my fair share of risky stuff and just happened to get away with it.

Yeah I do sometimes wonder ‘why us?’ Why do we somehow get to bear this greatest of losses that a child seems to be? But there is no real answer to that. Those who would see it as all part of God’s plan would suggest that there is a bigger picture that we just can’t see. I guess you have to think that if you truly believe that God would engineer an event like this. I don’t mean that snidely. I just can’t conceive of God in that way.

That said, maybe one day we will find out that those folks were right… But for now that isn’t a theological position I could credibly hold. It sits too heavily at odds with the notion of a good God or even with the idea of genuine free will.

We are now 6 weeks since Sam’s death – long enough for the initial impact to have worn off most people I would imagine. And even for myself I know I am no longer reeling and disoriented. I think I am starting to accept this new reality, but conscious that waves are still breaking over the bow every now and then and either catching us off guard or at times capsizing us.

Danelle and I spoke this afternoon of possibly travelling as a ‘family’ but just the thought seems more like it would currently serve to enforce what’s not here. So the next family holiday may need to be left for a while.

Anyway just some musings 6 weeks in… Oh and you simply cannot watch the news with the same kind of detached perspective any longer. Two brothers killed in Mexico is not just very sad. It rips at your heart as you know the pain of one child dying in a relatively good way – but to have two sons shot in the head while in a foreign country and then have to go there to retrieve bodies and identify them is next level intense. So very sad for that family.

Because Faith & Discipleship can be Complex

It was my turn to teach again this week from John Ch 3 – and I focused on Jesus interaction with Nicodemus – quite an intriguing conversation on a number of levels, but in particular with regard to where Nicodemus went with faith.

We began by asking the question – imagine you had never read the Bible before and you were reading the book of John for the very first time. By ch 2 Jesus has gathered a fairly unimpressive group of followers, created a stack of wine for an already inebriated wedding party, he has kicked over tables in the temple and driven out the money changers and he is somehow related to the crazy dude John the Baptist who is going around calling people to repent.

If you were only just reading all this for the first time then I imagine that by the time ch 3 comes around Jesus would look like some kind of crazy dude. Miracles, fits of rage and associations with weirdos would leave the reader wondering ‘just who are you anyway?…’ Of course this is the point. John wants us to be inquisitive as to who this man is. Mission accomplished I’d say.

Then in ch 3 Nicodemus comes to see Jesus because he is genuinely interested in who he is and what he is doing. In fact he goes so far as to call him ‘Rabbi’s and state that it is clear ‘God is with you’ because of the miracles you have been doing. It seems he broke ranks with the other Pharisees to come and see Jesus.

But Jesus responses are anything but helpful. He calls Nicodemus to be’ born again’ – a phrase he is clearly unfamiliar with, and then he critiques him for not understanding. ‘You are Israel’s teacher and you do not understand these things?…’ Again Jesus comes across rude – abrasive even. He gives Nicodemus a couple of heads up from the OT with reference to Ezekiel 36:25-27 and to the whole ‘snake in the wilderness’ experience from Numbers 21.

Jesus goes on to challenge him, but ch 3 ends with the story taking a different direction and we don’t hear what happened to Nicodemus. Did he become a follower of Jesus or was he just offended and put off by Jesus fairly abrasive and confrontational approach? 

Well… while you can’t be sure, I get the sense that maybe Nicodemus started buying in, but couldn’t bring himself to break free from the Sanhedrin – too much to lose maybe?… In Ch 7 we see him defending Jesus and sticking up for him, but then in ch 19 is the biggest hint that maybe he is onboard. As Joseph of Arimithea goes to collect Jesus body for burial, right there with him is Nicodemus, carrying a whopping 30kg of myrrh and alloes to prepare Jesus body.

That amount of gear is the kind of extravagance reserved for a royal burial – as if Nicodemus somehow brought himself to acknowledge that Jesus was the ‘king’ – the messiah – even if he couldn’t fully break free from his place in the Sanhedrin.

So my hunch is that Nicodemus had taken significant steps towards Jesus. Maybe he wasn’t what we could call a ‘fully devoted follower’, (are any of us?…) but he was on the road and pointed in the right direction. It would have taken some courage to go and retrieve Jesus body – and all this before the resurrection. I believe ‘The Chosen’ portrays Nicodemus as wrestling with the decision to follow Jesus before choosing not to, but I am not convinced they got that quite right. 

So much of how we portray discipleship is either hot or cold – for or against – missing the nuance and challenge that often accompanies real life. Nicodemus was in a complex situation and ‘extraction’ if it even were possible would have been costly to both him and his wider family. Perhaps he was trying too live on a knife edge, trying to follow Jesus with all of his heart, but also navigating the implications of that decision on others close to him. That isn’t a bad thing is it?…

Just a thought for those who find themselves on the journey of faith, but for whom it is not simple…