The day Kitchie played at Camp Bagong Diwa was also the day I first saw Him.
I remember riding to the venue packed in a car with Kitchie and her bandmates. The topic, as always was Jesus. I felt myself shifting uncomfortably. Since having had weird dreams and other unexplainable forays into the unknown, I was sold on the idea of God. There is Something out there, in one form or another that created this universe. It wasn’t something that could be spelled out logically but you could breathe in the evidence. There is a Creator, I had no doubt about that.
I had, however, a problem with Jesus. Prior to that day, I was blanketed in certainty that while He was obviously a very well-liked guy, He could not possibly also be God. I recall many long nights in Kalinga where Chel, myself and the Americans would sit around the kitchen table having long discussions while chomping on Sarah’s homemade curry.
Kayla: “Think of it this way. God is like an egg.” She would say, her blue eyes intently fixed on me.” Just as an egg is the yolk, the egg white and the shell all at the same time, so is God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They are three distinct things yet all encompassing of each other.” Mary, Willow and the others would nod encouragingly. I would be the only one shaking my head.
“That is not possible. I’d say He was more like Buddha or Muhammad. He was touched by the Spirit of God, he preached messages of wisdom, he was an enlightened soul, that’s all….”
And that was how it went. My stubborn human logic refused to back down to the miracle that God was capable of. Until one morning over breakfast, right before I was scheduled to go back down to Baguio, Kayla cast a look at Crystal and said with all earnestness: “It’s time for The Shack.”
Crystal nods and goes to her room to get it.
The Shack turns out to be a wonderful novel by William P. Young based on a true story about a man grieving the loss of someone very special to him. He finds a note in his mailbox from someone inviting him to spend a weekend up at an abandoned cabin. The note was signed “God”.
While the book was a great read, it was not enough to quiet down my queries. But that was Ok since I would soon discover that all the intellect in the world can not hold a candle to an actual experience with Him.
Which brings us back to the day of the prison gig, whilst cramped in the car with Kitchie and her band.
“I just don’t know how to feel about Jesus. I mean, who is He?I know there is God. I feel Him..I know He is there. I feel His enormous and immense power all the time.” I tell Kitchie, almost sadly.
Kitchie: “And how do you feel about that? That God is this powerful and immense being?”
Me: “Well, I often wish there was some way that I could reach out to Him and be closer to Him. To talk to Him somehow…”
Kitchie’s eyes were twinkling. “God feels the same way. That’s why He sent His Son Jesus…So that He could be our bridge to God.”
The car rolled to a stop and Camp Bagong Diwa loomed large and gray before us. We could sense the frenzy of the men locked up inside. A lot of them have not had visitors since the day they last saw light. But on that day, someone would knock at their door and give them messages of hope and love. That someone would declare that chains have been broken and there was freedom at stake. And that all they had to do was call on Him, the sweetest name, the gentlest face.
It was Kitchie who was standing on the stage that day but it was Jesus’ face that I saw as hundreds of men shed tears and raised their arms in worship. I could hear invisible chains breaking as light poured forth from the heavens and into their darkened prison cells. I imagined His light shattering open locked up hearts and years of pent up bitterness. It only took His name. And if there isn’t power in that, then I don’t know what else would.
And that’s how I came to know that Jesus did die on the cross 2,000 years ago. And that it is by his blood that we are saved. He rose after three days to fulfill the prophecy that He is the Son of God and that He is very much alive.
He can live inside of us if only we let Him.
So that we can make Jesus real to others too.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.