Thursday 16 July 2020

Surely God Is In This Place

For weeks now, I’ve been going on about how we’re all Jesus. And by weeks, I mean all the time. That’s how Jesus is alive, we’re Jesus. I made it a verb, even, hoping that would make it seem more realistic: Jesusing. It didn’t really take off, though, and then I thought, maybe if I put a hashtag in front of it. #jesusing. And then I Googled that and there is, in fact, #jesusing but it’s not anything remotely like what I had in mind.

It’s mostly pictures and memes of people - and animals - doing Jesus-like things from the stories, like walking on water or posing with their arms held wide, meaning to be funny. I know, super disappointing. And Urban Dictionary says that “Jesusing” is when you don’t reply to someone’s messages for a few days and then suddenly reappear. Haha. Sigh.

Sure, there’s a few, more devoutly religious uses, but no real interest in how I think Jesus would mean Jesusing.

That makes me sad, because I think that’s all part of our inability to see that we’re Jesus. We’re happy to acknowledge we’re followers of Jesus, or to worship Jesus, but not willing to hear those words he said to the disciples: go and be me. We even find it hard to live those words “love one another as I showed you to love.” We can’t be perfect like Jesus, the Son of God, the Word Made Flesh, the Holy One. We’re so focused on the Divine in Jesus and the very human failings in us that we don’t seem to see the other side.

But what’s really the point, if we can’t see the humanity in Jesus? How can Jesus show us how to live if it’s something unattainable? What’s the point of the Word Made Flesh if the flesh isn’t a full experience of being human?

But let’s get back to us, for a minute. We’re created in the image of God. Even our origin story describes us being made both of the spirit of God and of the earth. Why is it so hard to acknowledge there’s something of the Creator in us? Why is it so hard to believe that we, too, are both human and divine? Just. Like. Jesus.

Sure, we have free will and make choices and have experiences that lead us far from the divine in us, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. In everyone.

Just ask Jacob. (Or any others of a thousand Biblical characters, we just happen to encounter a little of Jacob’s story this week.) Jacob displays his self-centred failings boldly and often. He steals his older brothers birthright, runs away to some less than stellar wheeling and dealing elsewhere, wrestles with God, plays favourites with his children and, oh yeah, is repeatedly blessed by God. All that human-ness still touched by the divine.

Part of Jacob’s story reminds us of how our world and the divine are connected. As he’s running away from his brother Esau, he has a vision of a ladder between earth and heaven “and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” God appears to reaffirm the promise made to Abraham and Isaac of land and a great nation in the future and Jacob will become the father of that nation, but, hang on a minute. Go back to the ladder. That’s not just a sign that heaven and earth are close, they are connected. Angels travel between them. There is something of heaven here and Jacob realizes it. He wakes up and says to himself “surely God is in this place and I did not know it!” And he marks the spot with a stone.

But what if that wasn’t the place that he should mark? What if it was the divine presence in Jacob himself that he didn’t realize until now. Wouldn’t it be a different world if we could all see the divine in ourselves and each other and say “how awesome is that - surely God is in me and you and now I know it." It would be as if the Kingdom of God is here.