Friday, July 8, 2016

cardboard Jesus

Last Sunday we had the pleasure of hearing guest speaker Ryan Gaffney speak on Mark 8:27. In this passage Jesus asks his disciples who He is. When Peter correctly answers, Jesus answers “Get behind me Satan” because His time had not yet come. It’s a weird passage.   Ryan shared something about Mark I had not known. It ends with an empty tomb. Not Jesus visiting others, but just the women finding an empty tomb. Ryan says this is because Mark is about who we, the reader, say Jesus is. We are left with the story, the poem. Not the neat doctor’s account of Luke, not the genealogy in Matthew.
    It is so easy to shake our heads at the disciples who did not understand that Jesus was not going to overthrow the government. But as Ryan pointed out, we all worship our version of Jesus. We praise the Jesus that saves us. Like Peter, we want Him to fix everything.
    We heard these words on Sunday. There has been so much violence since then. We cannot even grieve and process one death before another follows. I remember the sermon and think, but we need Jesus to save us. This is too big. We cannot fix this.  I cling to a cardboard Jesus who can conveniently fix suffering so I don’t have to change. And of course, Jesus CAN save and do miracles. But He is not right now. Not yet. Maybe He will. But maybe we need to seek the silence and figure out what it means. What do we need to do? What do we need to learn about a Jesus who is more complex than the roles we have asked him to fill for us?
    I don’t have answers.   But we have to ask these questions.  What will it cost us to become more like Jesus? What will happen if we ignore the Prince of Peace for a cardboard cutout?
Beth Kropf