Friday, June 10, 2016

Year C, Proper 7, Galatians 3:23-20, "But only Jesus."

"This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!" 8 Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. (Mark 9:7-8)

Mother Teresa said:

“I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.”

And Paul wrote in our Galatians text: ". . . for all of you are one in Christ Jesus."

The focus of the Transfiguration Story, from which the first quote above comes, is how Jesus' appearance was changed from his earthly body, and clothed with the heavenly glory of God's shekinah, or glory. But perhaps there is a more important change that happened on that mountain. They looked up, and saw only Jesus. Now the most obvious way to interpret that statement is that Moses and Elijah were not there anymore. The cloud from which God spoke vanished. And then, there was only Jesus.

But what if a more profound thing happened. That as the disciples left that mountain and rejoined the crowds below, they still saw only Jesus. When their eyes fell upon the hungry, with Teresa, they saw Jesus. And the sick and lame, only Jesus. They encounter Jews and Gentiles, but see only Jesus. There are slaves and free, but they see only Jesus. Men, women, and children are all around, but they saw only Jesus.

The church wrestles with what to do, what to say, about our GLBT friends -- but looking up, they saw only Jesus. The country struggles with what to do about undocumented 'aliens' in our midst. But looking up, they saw only Jesus. A man lays down his prayer rug in O'Hare Airport and commences with bowing toward Mecca. And those who stood around saw only Jesus.

A child of God, created in the image of God, each one "in Christ", and in that we are One.

Part of me feels the need to focus not on being "in Christ", but on being a Child of God, created in God's image. Its more inclusive language. "Jesus" is as much a source of division in our world, and not so much a cause of unity. But the point is that amid all of the religious plurality in our world, we share a common humanity, each of the same Creator, a child of God, created in God's image -- and therein lies our unity.

The problem is that when we look up, we do not see "only Jesus." We see Jews and Greeks. We see slaves and free. We see men and women. We see white, and black, hispanic and Asian, we see Arabs. When we look up we see the poor and the privileged. We divide the world between friend and enemy. And in our eyes, we are not one.

Would that there were corrective lenses for that. Would that we could see as Teresa saw.

For then, we would see God.

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