Who Do Say That I Am? Lenten Series Post #4
Names are powerful. How we define ourselves or others defines how we see the world. She/Her or They/Them. Democrat or Republican. Patriot or Traitor. Heretic or Savior. And in our current world, most people are emphatically sure that they are correct.
“Who do you say that I am?” “You are the Christ” is how Peter answered Jesus. Clear enough, but is Jesus human or divine? Human AND divine? And then there is the concept of the Trinity. The Christian church has been arguing the finer points of this question for over two millennia, so who am I to give the definitive answer as to who Jesus is. It seems so open to our own experience and interpretation.
But this is my experience, my interpretation. Most of us who went to Sunday school more than 50 years ago (across many denominations) remember a picture of Jesus kneeling in prayer, his hands resting on a rock. Even as a child, it was hard for me to imagine that Jesus had the pasty white skin and flowing blonde hair like the guy in the painting. My childhood Jesus was more of an action hero.
While I have come to see Jesus as our human and divine savior, I have also come to appreciate Jesus as our companion and guide. I believe that Jesus showed us how to bring about his beloved kingdom on earth. Some of us have learned from him, and some of us are still trying to learn. Jesus stood beside the many saints of eras past as they faced persecution. Jesus guided Oskar Schindler as he smuggled Jews out of Poland during the Holocaust. Jesus warned the school crossing guard who pushed a child out of the path of a moving car. Jesus strengthened the stranger who carried me and my shattered ankle on his back on a long-ago hiking adventure. Jesus works today with people feeding, housing, and assisting refugees all over the world.
In short, Jesus is our constant companion, our friend who will not leave us. Sometimes we think He is not there, but when we take off our dark glasses we can see that He is there, waiting and willing to help us. He is our guide, our companion, He is our friend. After all, “Jesus loves us, this we know. For the Bible tells us so.”
— Nancy Kuhn
The Rev. Joani Peacock, Editor for Emmanuel Voices: A Parish Blog