It has been a stressful few months. You know what I’m talking about: It’s the stuff around the election and the issues facing our church. It’s the stress of who will decide what it right and good and what to do when we don’t all agree. If you are struggling to experience the holiness of the season this year let me share with you a few paraphrased notes from a Max Lucado sermon that talks about the ordinariness of Jesus. (I should have written down the reference for this story, but I read it so long ago.)
Lucado reminds us that even his name was ordinary. Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua – Yeshua — familiar Old Testament names. The historian – Josephus cites 20 references to people called Jesus. What’s the point of all of that? If Jesus were born today – his name might be John or Bob or Jim or Liam. If Jesus were here today it is doubtful that he would distance himself from the average person with some name like, “the Reverend Most High Divine One, the third.”
The titles we use today —-Christ or Lord — are used only a handful of times in the New Testament.
When God revealed himself he did so in human form – a common — ordinary person.
- The mouth that called Lazarus to come out of the tomb was a human one.
- The hand that touched the leper – had dirt under its nails.
- The feet that the woman washed with her tears – were calloused and dirty.
- And he cried – real tears — just like yours – just like mine.
The Bible tells us that we do not have a high priest who is unable to understand our weaknesses. He understands the human heart.
So the people came to him. They came to him at night. They touched him as he walked down the street. They clamored around him and put their children at his feet. Why? Because Jesus refused to be set apart – like someone too lofty – too holy — too distant from ordinary people like us.
No matter how highly the person ranked in life, or how lowly they had lived, there is not one single recorded story where the people were afraid of being rejected by —- JESUS.
This common, ordinary man was the one who builds bridges between people, welcomes refugees, loves and accepts people just as they are and creates family out of strangers.
This week, this very holy week, my prayer for you is that somewhere along the way we discover the divine in the ordinary things that unite us, that make God’s love known in real ways. This week, this Christmas, let our shared humanity – with one another and with Jesus – be what binds us together as the body of Christ. It’s the only way people will ever come to know the strength that love and grace has to truly transform the world.
John 13:34 & 35
“I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”
Rev. N. Susan Brims
Missional Strategist & Superintendent