Friday, July 28, 2017

Why do you call God Jesus?

Why do you call God Jesus?
-by William Hay

“Why do you call God Jesus?” he asked
“My mother called him that.” I said
“That’s all.”
“It’s no small thing to me.  She introduced me to God and called him Jesus when I was a little child.  I remember praying at the side of my bed on my knees with her beside me. That’s no small thing.  Praying beside your mother on your knees.  I still look back on that time as truly wondrous. She told me she knew Jesus long before she knew me. She said she’d asked Jesus for me and prayed to Jesus for me when I was a baby in womb. That’s pretty special. Coming from your own mother. Knowing that she called out to Jesus when she was carrying me."
“Alright, I get it. But what of your father. Doesn’t he count?” he asked.
“Oh yes, my mother and father loved each other very deeply. My mother said she’d asked for my father and prayed for him. He wasn’t particularly caught up with God himself but he did call him Jesus too. It’s just what they called God in my neighbourhood.  That was God’s name.  Everyone knew that when I was growing up.  Everyone knew God just like today they know Steven Jobs.   All the other men and women in my child hood called God Jesus.  Certainly it’s what they called him in my church and Sunday School."
“And you’ve found no better name?"
“Not really. I’ve tried on a few others but they don’t seem to fit long for me.  I liked Higher Power for a while. I still like Holy Spirit.  I do like Christ. They’re kind of like nick names, the way I see it. Jesu sometimes fits too."
“But if you were born in Syria you would probably call God Allah, in Israel Yahveh, in India , Krishna.  Because that’s probably what their mothers called their Gods.” he asked sounding a bit full of himself
“Yes,” I said, reflecting seriously on the question.  “I suppose I would have called God what my mother called God if I was born in other countries. Even if they were Christian I would call Jesus by a different intonation. The Gaelic way of pronouncing Jesus is a different thing altogether.   The sounds wouldn’t be quite the same but somehow the meaning would remain the same."
“What do you mean?"
“Well the words aren’t as important as the devotion of the heart.  I don’t think God is like the Apple Phone Siri. I rather think Jesus is more like an Emergency room nurse.  I’ve known some of the finest and they’ve that uncanny skill of understanding exactly what a person needs when they’re having difficulty talking due to pain and English isn’t their first language. Jesus is like that. Here we have Babylon but in the language of the heart our meaning is heard.I know Jesus understands me when I’m praying even when I’m not quite sure what I’m saying. The Pentecostals take that even a step further with their ‘talking in tongues’.  The Quakers take it a different way with their ‘silent prayer’. Come to think of it, if Jesus were a government God,  we’d be praying in triplicate.
“But they’d be different God’s."
“I don’t think so. Not at the Mother and Child level. That’s why I love the Madonna and Child paintings so terribly much. I cry seeing them. I really believe there’s a purity of communication between mother and child that captures the spirit of Jesus like no other image. There is no greater miracle on earth than birth. Despite all our science and superiority there’s something utterly sacred and mysterious about conception. It’s truly wondrous.  Human creation is such an important process and a series of exceptional occasions.  Society has done all it can to marginalize it.  Still, it remains truly glorious."
“And you still call God Jesus."
“Of course. Throughout my life I’ve come to know Jesus is  the best name for God. I’ve looked at all the others. I’m forever studying. It’s just that Jesus is so very different and special than the other Gods people worship.  Jesus is unique. Jesus is God. It’s quite simple for me. "
“And you don’t think if you were raised in India, or Iraq, or as an aboriginal, you’d think the god of your people would be like Jesus."
“No I wouldn’t. I’d rather be born in those nations than the Godless aetheist nations which have know such horror and pain of communism with no one to blame but themselves.  At least countries with a God can turn to something more. They're moving in the right direction.  We’re so limited , so finite as people. That’s the miracle of the Jesus story.  Neitzhe understood this. Other Gods were powerful Gods.
There were also hearth Gods but Jesus was both, God incarnate, an infant God, paradoxically powerful in his weakness. He was a crucified God. He was a vanquished God. A rebel and a healer, a loser and a winner. His was a story of miracles.
As I’ve become older I’ve come to know why the story of Jesus is called the greatest story of the world. It just seems more remarkable the older I get.  The resurrection is comforting but more so I imagine all that power and grace in the little baby Jesus and the restraint.  It seems there is no other God that is so restrained and so forgiving.  When I was young I admit I liked Yahweh better and Allah seemed spectacular spectacular.  I wanted a God that smote my enemies. I loved the stories of the Pharaoh’s armies being swallowed by the sea. I liked the Gods of Greece and the stories of Troy and the Argonauts.  Even the Great Spirit God was more appealing than a Jew dying on a cross. I was pretty vengeful when I was younger.  I probably still am. I’ll turn the cheek 70 times 70 but then I’ll smite with gusto. I don’t think that’s quite what the way it's meant to be.   But it is the way I’ve chosen to interpret it.  Slow to anger then all bets are off.
 "Forgive them for they know now what they do." That’s been hard.  My greatest fear has been the ignorant and delusional.  I think of Pilate in later years realizing that he killed God, the people there going to their graves in old age, realizing that they didn’t do more. I imagine the guy who helped carry the cross slept well but the others in the story, well, it’s what I think about and it’s not at all about war and conquest and the Big Guy.  It’s none of that Hollywood idea of God.  In my version of the Holy story I’d probably choose Jerry Springer or George Costanza to play Jesus rather than Charlton Heston.  Gregory Peck might do it best but only because of his ability to portray the thoughtful. I like Mel Gibson but that's because he's capable of playing the crazy like Peter O Toole. And Jesus only did the crazy thing in the temple when people were using the holy ground for mere marketing.  The whole Schwartzeneger set just don’t seem to have what it is I see in Jesus.  He's just not action hero material.
Jesus still lead from the front not from behind. He was first into battle like the marines but not to vanguish but to save. I really think the story grows on you. I’ve read the other stories of God again and frankly they’re great like Superman and Captain Kirk even but there’s a comic book quality at the end of the day for me. I love the Bhagadva Gita.  There's something particular appealing in monkey gods and elephant gods.   But the atheist's "State as God" Communist Manifesto grows thin pretty quick.  I like the aboriginal Turtle God story but they’re not the same for me. That may be because I am not as familiar with them as I am with Jesus.  I actually believe that the more I talk to Jesus the more like him I become. I don’t want the stigmata of St. Francis which makes the story even more poignant. That it can reach out for hundreds and thousands of years, as powerful as that and more so, is itself uncanny.  I’m thankful to know the story and to know Jesus. It’s all a little scary though Awesomeness has that quality.  It’s not a bland flavour by any means. The Church can bore one to tears with the weight of flavourless beurocracy and cowardice but the Jesus story has none of that lethargy.  Jesus is to my mind the spiciest God there is.  But then for me he’s the only one.  Three in one but one."
“Well you’d better talk more with him because you’re a long way from Godly by anyone’s account,” my friend laughed.
“Isn’t that true. My mother, if she were alive today,  would radically agree with you. Then I really think, especially now she has passed, that she knew Jesus more than I ever could know.  She had the peace about her."
“Not like you, you old rogue.”
“Not like me. Maybe some day. Jesus is calling.”

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