Jesus is my favourite
There are always three stages: shock; panic; blame. I have to write a blog; I can’t possibly do this for Monday; and Katie should have told me weeks ago. But after denial – I’m not going not do it; I’m going to hold my breath until I turn blue and roll around on the floor kicking everything – comes acceptance. The realisation that Sunday is the best day, for on that day we turn even more to Christ.
Living, as I do most of my life, 2,000 feet up in the Moravian uplands of the Czech Republic, my church services are by Facebook and Zoom: one in the morning with my Kew service transmitted over Facebook and one in my evening – my sister’s morning – by Zoom with the United Congregational Church of Ashland, Oregon. Two more diametrically different services it is difficult to imagine. Kew has vestments; readings; communion in neat rows with bowing at all the right times, while at Ashland, our recent preachers have included two trans people, a Rabbi and a Native American spiritualist.
However, there is one common thread that runs through all these services: the search for certainty and hope in something we cannot see, but feel no alternative but to believe. There are three certainties in my life: there is a God, though I have no idea what he, she or it is like; Jesus is my saviour – doesn’t have to be yours, though I would prefer it if he were; and after this life, there is another one which I call the next great adventure, because again I have no idea what it is like.
Of the three, Jesus is my favourite because he is and was human. He got mad; wept; was frightened and became exhausted with the sheer inability of people to grasp the reality of his simple message: love your God and love your neighbour, yes, even the woman next door with 42 cats. He also possessed the most acute BS meter yet invented. He knew the Samaritan woman’s past; he knew the hypocrisy of the legalists and he knew that his path could not be changed. Jesus is the one person I see at my dining table or in my favourite bar, lifting a quizzical eyebrow and mouthing “REALLY?”
So today he must be open mouthed with “REALLY”s. There is a large cadre of politicians who will tell outright lies knowing they are falsehoods, without caring that they are dredging the worst instincts of easily fooled people; a riot mob is lionised as political prisoners; Texas has decided that women should no longer have control over their own bodies; and Trump can hold a Bible the wrong way up and wrap himself round a flag without even the hint of embarrassment. Stupidity is the new religion and inanity its Bible. REALLY!
Through all this insanity, our community just continues to knock gently on the door of the established Churches and ask politely to be allowed the same rights; the same love; the same, at times, indifference as everyone else. We don’t riot; we don’t lie; we genuinely try and love our neighbour because we know what it is like to be hated for no other reason that who or what we are.
And, whisper it gently, we are right – really right. Ours is the path to salvation; ours is the true way and ours is the life born again through the spirit. As we approach winter and I suspect more ill-informed rejection, let that thought keep us warm in the knowledge that Jesus looks at us and nods in affirmation.
David Owen, Trustee