Different people did different things to cope with COVID. I wrote a book. We Beheld His Glory, A Novel will be launched this week on Amazon.com, free as an eBook April 1 through 5. It was a great way to spend the days huddled at home during the pandemic.
I have studied, preached, taught and pondered the stories in the Gospels all my life. My mother first told the stories to me when I was a toddler. I heard them in Sunday School and at church growing up. I was called to preach and became pastor of a church when I was 19; 55 years later, I am still mesmerized by “The Story.” The story of Jesus has shaped my life and my world view. It has shaped me.
When I was a youth, we would sing old hymns that I have never forgotten. “Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word, tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard.” “I love to tell the story, for those who know it best are hungering and thirsting, to hear it like the rest.” I have never grown tired of the story. I still love to think about it and to tell it.
So, I started thinking, imagining, and writing. One year and 26 chapters later, it was a book.
The book is based on the Gospel of John and the Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke. Since it is a novel, I could let my imagination run free. What was it like for Peter, Andrew, James and John when they first met Jesus after John the Baptist baptized him? (John 1). John was baptizing near the Dead Sea. Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishermen who lived in Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee, several days’ journey to the north. How did they get there? How did they find Jesus? What was it like?
Next Sunday the world will again celebrate the resurrection. It is the high moment of the year for everyone who believes and follows Jesus. The Gospel writers devote most of their writing to this final week in Jesus’ life: more than a third of Mark, one-fourth of Matthew and Luke and over on-half of John. And they leave us with many questions. How did the 12 misunderstand Jesus so completely prior to the resurrection? What happened on the Sabbath after Jesus was buried and what did they do? How do we reconcile the records of the resurrection? How and when did the disciples return to Galilee?
I have enjoyed thinking about the three-year journey with Jesus, including some of the dynamics among the 12, John’s friendship with Jesus’ mother, as well as the questions above. I have tried to capture my thoughts through imagination in the form of a novel.
We Beheld His Glory was released on Amazon.com on March 15. I hope you will download a free copy as an eBook April 1-5 and receive it as an Easter gift.