If Jesus is the Same … November 30, 2011

(1,346)

Charlotte, North Carolina

It’s what the Good Book says. It claims that “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.”

Traditionalists and religionists love this particular scripture because they feel it sanctions them repeating their favorite ways of maintaining the integrity of the Christian faith. But I do believe that if you read it carefully, it says that Jesus is the same–not that we’re the same, religion is the same, or all the things we call righteousness are the same yesterday, today and forever. Just because you like red carpet in your sanctuary and unleavened bread for your communion doesn’t mean you can get an affirming nod from the Master.

So if we’re really going to pursue this thing called Christianity, I think we should take the time to understand the mind-set of its initiator and find out what triggered his passions–and also what he held dear to the cause. Without this, we begin to think that everything we do is right in our own eyes and therefore Jesus is smiling, knowing how darned-tootin’ on-point we are.

It reminds me of the pastor of the church that hosted me last night for my Christmas show. First of all, he was kind enough to invite us to come and share our talents with his community. How gracious. But about two weeks ago he called our office and told the woman who schedules us that he had gone onto our website and couldn’t find our particular page–and what he did discover was not very impressive. When she told me this, I wanted to get offended. Why? Because I can be a brat. I don’t want anyone disrupting my little world of self-confidence and security. But instead of throwing a fit and ignoring his comment, I went on the Internet and found that our web host had bungled up some numbers or something, and our site was not available at that time. So our sponsor was right–and I was so glad that my stubborn ways were not allowed to trump his more intelligent insight. Because of that, I was able to meet a very kind and intensely in-tune host last night, and got to meet some lovely folks for a spiritual evening of entertainment. You see, if we persist to believe that the absence of our own will is the destruction of God’s plan, we will never evolve towards greater understanding of the true nature and style of Jesus.

So if you will allow me–working on the premise of Jesus being the same yesterday, today and forever–I would like to take the next few days to tell you HOW he’s the same. What makes him the same? What truths that he proclaimed in his loincloth in Galilee are still relevant in the Bible Belt of America today? How can we begin to understand our faith if we don’t understand Jesus? Because a lack of understanding of Jesus is the formation of the institution of religion. And religion always does one thing above all else–it shrinks our possibilities and our vision.

So let me start tomorrow with the first thing that is the same about Jesus yesterday, today and forever. Let’s see if you agree. Let’s see if you learn something. Or better yet, let’s see if you teach me one that I missed.

See you tomorrow.

***************

Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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