Where do you look for Jesus? Or do you?
I have recently been on pilgrimage and met a lot of people who are looking for Jesus.
Actually I often meet people who are looking for Jesus…..now, having said that I am wondering is that correct? It is an interesting question, do we actively look for Jesus? Do we seek? Do we knock? It seems that if we do not seek, we will not find. If we do not knock, the door will remain shut.
Oftentimes we are looking for peace, for success, for health….simply for a favour. This does not necessarily mean we are looking for Jesus. To be more direct about it in this scenario we are not so much seeking Jesus as seeking self or at least seeking something for the self.
I mean we would probably agree we would like to feel closer to God. Or maybe we would be more comfortable with saying we would like to feel God’s presence.
Now if this is true, is it not obvious that a way of getting closer to God, or feeling his presence in a more real way, is to get closer to Jesus?
Now, if we accept that then a good question might be: if we want to get closer to Jesus, where would we find him?
Where would you start? Many people would say, start in the Bible. Read the Gospels. Perhaps some would say begin in prayer. All these suggestions are of course excellent and very good things to do in their own right.
However I would like to make another suggestion about Jesus. I think we spend a lot of time looking over there in the beyond, somewhere away out there…and is this not our fundamental mistake? Is not the extraordinary thing about Jesus that he is much closer than we think? Is it not that Jesus is so close that we miss him? Is he not under our very noses? Is not the truth of the matter that Jesus is in the Mess. Maybe we should make that a little more specific: Is it not that Jesus is in OUR mess?
This could be seen as a very sweeping statement and deserves a little bit of developing. What does it mean to say Jesus is part of our Mess? Let’s say it in big words first. Let’s say it theologically first.
When God became one of us, he does so in Jesus. God becomes one of us in Jesus. We are of course speaking about the Incarnation. God made flesh. Clearly in the Divine Plan it was decided that God’s only begotten Son, Jesus was not going to be born into cosy middle or upper class, four poster bed with proverbial silver spoon in the mouth. Yes the reality of Jesus is a long way from that. But readers of the rumblings will know we have said this before or something fairly close to this.
Today though I would like to push it a little bit further. Let me take three simple examples that could easily happen to any of us in our lives: What is it like to be under threat? What is it like to feel misunderstood? And finally, what is it like to feel totally abandoned? Now as I am sure you will agree these three things are regular enough occurrences. They may not be evident in very large dramatic ways and yet they are there.
We are under threat of illness, failure, bad news, and accident. Jesus was under threat from before he was born and at every juncture of his life. Do we not often get frustrated especially when we feel misunderstood? Jesus is constantly misunderstood. Regularly confused with being an earthly king or rebel leader his oft repeated sigh is, ‘and still you do not understand’. As for feeling abandoned, whilst we know different now because we have the grace of both Ascension and Pentecost, did it not appear that Calvary was the ultimate failure?
No, we do not have to look too far for Jesus…. he is right here beside us… in our mess.