Finding a connection with Jesus is often among first steps for people beginning a journey in the Christian faith. When that connection turns to love and compassion the journey begins to get interesting. Here are a couple of images of Jesus from along my journey.
“The Rabbit-Ears Jesus” – Forgive me for the title, but hang with me for a moment. It’s not that Jesus had them, … story: I grew up in the years known as BC, before cable. To get the best TV reception we often had to adjust the antennas on top of the TV, “rabbit-ears”. The Jesus I grew up with in that same time frame, was known to me mostly by a plastic Jesus in my Episcopal Church Sunday School room. He had a plastic halo, and plastic eyes that looked longingly (and somewhat sadly) toward the ceiling (or heaven). What puzzled me most was the way he held his right hand. It was almost like half of a prayer position, with the other hand down at his side. His index and middle fingers were bent slightly (not quite a cub scout solute) with ring and pinky fingers bent. Best I could figure was that if he held his hand just right he would get great reception. Not TV, of course, but from God. Rabbit-ears.
“Sisters-of-the-Road Buffet Jesus” – This image came to me as a young adult thanks to a bible study led by a friend from the Nazarene Church. Boy, did he know Jesus! Nothing plastic about this guy. This Jesus hung around with some real undesirables and loved to eat, so I heard. It seemed he was eating or at parties or multiplying the spread (from snack to feast), which has always been very popular to me. But it caught me off guard that he would intentionally mix it up with those hooligans called “sinners and tax collectors”. I began to realize that if Jesus would hang around with folks like that, then just maybe he might hang around with my cronies and maybe even with ME. That’s when I realized the depth of love and compassion that was possible with a connection with Jesus.
I know icons can be conduits to a deeper experience of the sacred. Unfortunately, I never really got beyond the surface. But the flesh and blood realities of love, compassion and justice lived out by the Jesus of the Gospels, and by those of his faithful today, continue to open the sacred in powerful ways for me.
How about you? How have you been connected with Jesus? Would you be willing to share a connection earlier in life? Or how about a current connection?
It’s easy – sign up, log in, and share a story.
Peace – Bill