Throughout Lent, I will be posting short meditations on the Daily Office readings every day. Please journey and pray with me through these readings. To read previous Lenten meditations click here.
Tuesday, February 28
The Christian church triumphs in proclaiming Jesus the Son of God, the Messiah and the Holy One. We shout it from the rooftops, plaster it on bumper stickers and tattoo it on our bodies. And we mistake that proclamation with the good news of reconciliation and restored community. Indeed, one wonders whether that proclamation is even necessary to the life of Christians and the work of Jesus.
Time and again, Jesus muzzles anyone who would reveal his identity openly. When the demon calls him the Holy One of God, Jesus replies, “Be silent!” When he heals the leper, Jesus asks him not to tell anyone. When the crowds find out about him and flock to him, he withdraws and goes into hiding. Time and again, we find Jesus deflecting questions of his identity or explicitly forbidding people from talking about it.
It is almost as if every time who Jesus is becomes more important than what Jesus does and what Jesus’ message is, Jesus leaves. It’s almost enough to make one think that Jesus didn’t think Jesus himself was at the center of the work God wanted him to do, almost that his identity was immaterial to his message. It makes me wonder just what Christians could accomplish, together, if we would quit being so concerned with who Jesus is and get busy doing what Jesus did, namely healing a broken world, restoring the outcast into community and revealing the fierce, peaceful, loving Reign of God. It makes me wonder what would happen if we would follow Jesus lead and quit talking about him and start embodying his message.
O Unnamed God, we spend so much time trying to figure you out, analyzing the identity of Jesus, that all too often we forget to do the work you ask of us. Forgive us of the arrogance to think we can name you, define you, and thus control you. Forgive us our hubris of thinking that our thoughts are more important than our work. Forgive us of hiding our complacency with deep, eloquent thoughts. Teach us to be silent so that the message of Jesus can again be heard throughout the world.