“Who Do You Say That I Am?” Lenten Series Post #8
When I think of Jesus asking, “Who do you say that I am?”, the answer comes quickly: you’re my best friend. It’s a simple answer from as far back as I can remember.
I grew up in the Catholic church, and when my family moved to a house in a nearby neighborhood, we joined a new parish. And “new” it was! We left a long-established parish and joined one with no church and a school that graduated its first class of 8th graders the year we moved – 1966. I was in 1st grade. Students set up chairs in the school auditorium for church every week. We were a tight-knit community with younger nuns and priests than any of the neighboring parishes. They did a wonderful job of making Jesus real and present every day. They instituted the guitar mass with new and upbeat hymns – my sister and I loved it, our parents liked it, and our grandparents (who still missed the Latin mass) tolerated it.
The Jesus of my youth was painted in bold colors; he was vibrant, welcoming, and down-to-earth; someone to walk with, talk with, and sing with. I grew up with him. He knows me at my best and worst and loves me anyway. We laugh and cry together; he supports me when I’m weak and gives me strength when others need me to be strong. We can be quiet together, but his voice breaks through the noise when everything is crazy. Even when I’m alone, I’m never lonely because he is always there. I may lose touch with him now and then, but he always lets me pick up where we left off. He makes me want to be a better person.
Holy Week makes me think about my best friend at his most human and his most divine. Can I comfort him the way he comforts me? Can I be there for him as he is there for me? When he looks at a world where so much is going wrong, can all of us who love him give him a place to rest, a place to laugh, a place to visit where he knows he’s always welcome? I hope so because that’s what best friends do for each other.
— Nan DeRenzi
The Rev. Joani Peacock, Editor for Emmanuel Voices: A Parish Blog