Aloha Friday Message – June 8, 2012 – “I know him!”

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Mark 14:26 – Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Last week I went on and on and on about the Trinity. The week before that I went on and on about the Holy Spirit and Pentecost. This week I’m going to go on talking about GOD, but this time perhaps with less information and a lighter tone.

This verse is the last verse of the Gospel for this Sunday which used to be called Corpus Christi but is now called The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. I’m not going to touch on the obvious topics there – the mystery of transubstantiation, the Real Presence of Christ, the preeminence of the Eucharist. I’m going to talk about that last verse in the reading from Mark. They sang a hymn.

That was the verse I’ve read a hundred times or more without seeing it. Suddenly toward the end of last week as I was getting ready for today’s message, I heard … “Jesus COULD SING!” I don’t know why but that never occurred to me before. I had certainly heard many times the completeness of Jesus’ humanity. We often speak of him as being fully human right down to the point of facing temptations like ours. Except of course he didn’t sin like we do.

I remember sophomoric discussions about whether he shouted and jumped around when he hit his thumb with a hammer. And if he hit his thumb with a hammer, did he just heal himself right away and go on working? Could he get a tummy-ache from eating too many little green apples, break his arm, or be allergic to pollens? Did he ever have a toothache? Did he go to the bathroom? Did he ever use his “super-powers” in a fight with a bully, or when someone’s pet goat died? These are all sophomoric – irreverent, irrelevant, immature, and flippant – because the answer is right there in the clause “fully human” and in the life and death we have recorded in scripture.

Jesus could sing, bleed, hurt, get sick, be tired, feel sad, tremble with fear, jump for joy, and love people just as we do. He would not be jealous, spiteful, irreverent, disloyal, nasty, or cruel. He could be the best of all of the good things we can be, but he could not be the very least of all the bad things we can be. I know of no scripture or tradition that ascribes these negative aspects of humanity to Jesus. Please look at the verb I used in that description – that is “would.” He was tempted like us in all things, “yet was without sin.” He had to choose not to be jealous, spiteful, irreverent, disloyal, nasty, or cruel; and all his choices were perfect. He still felt pain when he hit is thumb or stubbed his toe, or got a splinter, or did any of the myriad things that we do that result in physical injury. Think of the Cross. No, he didn’t dodge pain. I feel he’d do the same with sickness – just battle his way through a cold, or hold his breath for hiccups, or get the shivers on a cold and snowy winter night. And he could sing.

What is it that you might learn about Jesus that would help you identify more with him, feel closer with him? I remember a story I read when I was maybe a fifth-grader. It was about a little girl who had a wooden doll named Ruth. The Roman soldiers came galloping through her village scattering the villagers. As she ran to get out of the way she fell. Her mom snatched her out of the way just as the cohort reached the place where she fell. The doll slipped out of her arms. An iron-shod hoof stepped squarely on Ruth’s face. Moments later, when the dust had settled, the little girl went back and found the ruined doll. She began to cry.

Then a man’s had rested on her shoulder and the man’s voice said, “Here, let me have a look at that.” The girl handed the man Ruth. He sat down and said, “Hmmm, I think I might be able to fix her up a little. Would you like that?” Through dirty tears the girl nodded. The man borrowed a knife from his father who was walking with him. He started whittling around the hoof mark. Within a few minutes, the evidence of the damage was gone and Ruth had a new face with a beautiful little smile – a smile just like the little girl’s. He handed the little girl the doll, gave her a hug, and returned to the road to continue his journey to Jerusalem with his parents. About 5 years later the little girl saw him again. He was riding into the city on a baby donkey, and people were shouting “Hosanna!” When he passed by her, she held up Ruth for him to see. He winked at her and wiggled his fingers to say hello to Ruth.

Have you met Jesus in a way that made him really accessible to you? Have you heard his quiet whisper on the mountaintop? Did you see him playing with his dog in the park? Have you given him a plate of food at the shelter? Did you see the light radiating from the Communion cup? Did you hear his prophecy in a song on the radio? Did you hear him sing? Did he offer you loving correction and guidance in the heart of your friend? Did he bake you a batch of your favorite cookies? Did he show up at your door with a casserole when your dad died? Did he ride with you through the storm or away from the forest fire? Could you hear the nails piercing his wrists? Did someone see Jesus in you when you did these things for them? Then Jesus was present

We can’t keep putting Jesus “over there” in the church or “Up There” in Heaven or “back there” in time. He’s always “right here, right now.” Stop. Look. Listen. Feel. Touch. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord. He never ever goes away no matter how good things are and no matter how bad things are. He’s always revealing himself to you “every moment of every day.” And on those days when you feel like you have moved so far away from him that he can’t possibly know where you are, he speaks a promise to you:

“Fear Not, I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Jesus had all the body parts any man has, plus all the feelings, all the susceptibilities, and all the good things in every human life. He just didn’t have sin. But: For you, for me, for us he became sin and died to take all our sins away. And that, perhaps, is what is the most important and most striking about the ways we can identify with him. I did the sin. He did the reparation. Do you remember the song “When He was On the Cross, I Was On His Mind” which was popular around 2007 and earlier? (Jesus can sing harmony, too.) That is another thing we have in common with Jesus. He knows our sins because he paid for every single one of them. Once for all because he loved us that well, well enough for him to lose everything so we could gain everything through his loss.

Now that is something to sing about.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

Share-A-Prayer

Praise Report: Thanksgiving and praise for the wonderful progress made after knee surgery – a double for DB and a single for GC – but all three knees are doing so well! Praise God for the healing he provided out of his Goodness and in response to our prayers, and also praise God for the special skills of physicians, surgeons, nurses, and technicians who played their part in the healing.

Praise report: JC is home for summer break and looks and sounds wonderful. Whereas there are still some remaining pieces of the tumor that sidelined her, and still some powerful headaches, things are all-in-all much better!

Prayer request: JE is back in the hospital for yet another abdominal surgery – this time gallstones. I believe that’s upwards of four-dozen operations all sandwiched between constant pain and astounding faith. Please pray that JE recovers quickly from this particular surgery and can get back to healing the original problem – a botched abdominal hernia repair many years ago.

Please remember

TW now in hospice,

TH SC TO CC and many more still hoping for financially stable and suitable work

FO, TM, MJ, CS, CW, GW, and again many others dealing with cancer. Ask God for strength enough to make it to complete remission

All the families torn apart by addiction, violence, poverty, and illness

Pray for your pastors and everyone who plays a leadership role in your life, including our elected and appointed officials at all levels of government. Pray they will govern with morality, compassion, integrity, wisdom, and justice.

Look for ways to identify with Jesus this week. He’s been waiting for you to notice him.

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

One Response to Aloha Friday Message – June 8, 2012 – “I know him!”

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