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I would be like Jesus *

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Luke 9:23
Jesus said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

In Romans 8 Paul joyfully describes Jesus as “firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Paul’s sense of family with Jesus might have begun even before his Damascus Road experience. Psychological bonds often cross genealogical borders, and they can do so as experiences of love or hate.

Paul certainly hated the followers of Jesus and wanted to wipe them out. But then Jesus stopped Paul in his tracks. Paul’s eyes were blinded and he cried out, “Who are you?”

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” Paul’s short-term blindness, his subsequent years in the desert, and all the persecution Paul endured, bound the two close like family. Paul knew he was a brother of Jesus.

Jesus invites me also to let Jesus be my brother. Jesus wants to welcome me to the creative community of life with our Father and the Holy Spirit. He asks me to participate in the “body of Christ,” and to discover myself as I discover how I am “one-d” with God.**

I think this that both alone and with others, I experience both joy and suffering - denying neither, with acceptance and clarity. Jesus promises to teach me how to die and then rise again. I can participate fully in all of life.

I can love the colors and smells and sounds and tastes and touch of truth, goodness and beauty. I can rejoice in the talents and gifts which others have been given, without comparing myself to them. I can rejoice in my own talents and gifts without embarrassment.

I can also suffer pain, hunger, hardship and depression. I think Jesus invites me to let go, to allow privation and watch it make me more whole, not less, re-create me, not destroy me.

Over and over the angels, the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit ask, “Why are you afraid?” They tell us there is no need: “Do not be afraid.” The Father is delighted to give us his kingdom.

Jesus overcame his fear and mounted the cross in silence and acceptance. He promises to teach me this Way as well, not as an ascetic mortification, but as a letting go. “Into thy hands,” Jesus prompts me to say, “I commit myself.”

Your cross, Lord, is not only a symbol standing silent in my shrine, although it is that too. Your life and death and life-again echoes through my time in constant invitation, welcoming me to my own.

*James Rowe, one more brother of Jesus, wrote hundreds of songs, including “I Would Be Like Jesus.” “Son of a copper miner, worked for Irish government four years, emigrated to America, worked in railroads in Albany NY, inspector for Hudson River Humane Society, worked for music publishers in Texas and Tennessee, moved to Vermont to work with his daughter writing verses for greeting cards”. Died, age 68, 1933

**”One-d” is another coined word from Julian of Norwich. I guess this word didn’t quite catch on, but I like it anyway.

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