Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Sunday, September 10, 2023

following Jesus

Following Jesus is weird




It has been that way from the beginning

From those first squalling moments in a trough

From that frantic moment when his family fled, political refugees,

To a far country


To that strange moment in the Jordan

When he was dunked in dirty water with a bunch of sinners

To those moments of thirst and hunger in the wilderness



Jesus was not the Messiah people expected

If God were going to come and save

If God were going to come and rule


This certainly is NOT how God would do it

A wrinkled baby, born to a common family

In a rural community

A young man, wandering the countryside

Surrounded by poor people

Powerless people

Hungry people

Sick people

Lost people


We would expect the Messiah to look



We would expect a person born into wealth

A person with status and connections

A person who would come in and grab power


If we had been running the show

Jesus would have been born in Jerusalem, a prince perhaps

At least a Sadducee

He would have been raised with privilege

Educated well (not that he needed it)


He would have taken over the Sanheidren

Made the Pharisees his allies

Aligned with the Priests


He would have taken over the power structures of his day

He would have kicked out the Romans

And established the Kingdom


It must have been confusing for his disciples

To watch this one with so much power

The power to turn water into wine

The power to heal

The power to walk on water (how cool is that)


Simply wander along dusty roads

And hang out with the poor

And eat with tax collectors


There was that moment of hope

When he entered Jerusalem

And for a moment it seemed as if

It was really going to happen

He was going to exert his power


But then the meal

Then Jesus, in the dust, washing feet

Then Gethsemane

The arrest

The trial

The beatings

 The cross

The death

Of everything


Following Jesus is weird

This one who will not align with Empire

Who will not create a kingdom, but instead establishes a Kin-dom

A community of love


Here we are with our affluence and privilege

Here we are

Wanting to leverage Jesus so we have more affluence and privilege


No wonder we functionally ignore so much of what Jesus taught

No wonder it is so hard for us to “get” what Jesus was all about


It doesn’t make sense

We don’t believe it

That if we give it all up, we get everything

That if we are last, we will become first

That if we die to the self we will find ourselves


So we try to remake Jesus in our image

We try to make him one who makes people rich

And we try to use him in order to gain power


And we wallow in our affluence

And neglect the poor

We abuse power and forget to love

We exclude and forget to welcome


And it doesn’t work


Following Jesus is weird

And as I sit, on this early fall mourning

In my nice house

Looking out at my nice car

As I sit here with my affluence and yes, my privilege


I wonder

What would it mean to follow him?

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