I am sure you’ve heard by now of about the controversy that the British food store Greggs caused by substituting a sausage roll in place of the baby Jesus in a manger scene. There has been a lot of humor around the topic, however, some of which might be missed if one does not see the tweets and Facebook comments that have been offered in response. Let me begin with the one that led me down this rabbit hole, which was a comment on a Facebook post of mine which said:
What’s the problem? Every New Zealander knows Lord Jesus backwards is Susejd Rol.
It was Googling “susejd rol” that led me to the rest of the things I found, mostly via a Buzzfeed list of “16 Very British Tweets” about the sausage roll controversy. This tweet with an image was particularly impressive:
— máirt (@HolyHonda49) November 15, 2017
However, I never did quite manage to confirm whether all or even most New Zealanders know about Jesus spelled backwards. Can any blog readers confirm? Others on Twitter pointed out that Jesus backwards is “susej” which also works as a response to the ad.My favorite response to this whole affair was from Meredith Warren, who managed to offer the headline “Greggs’ portrayal of Jesus as a sausage roll echoes the Gospel of John, says biblical studies expert.” When I first saw that, I wasn’t sure if it was satire or sensationalism, but assumed it would be one or the other. But in the end it turned out to be neither. Instead, Warren talked about her research on the Gospel of John, which was published as My Flesh Is Meat Indeed: A Nonsacramental Reading of John 6:51-58. In the article, which is worth reading in its entirety, Warren writes:
While there is no real war on Christmas, those anxious about what they perceive as a lack of Jesus in the advent season should take another look at the Greggs ad, which places a biblical understanding of Jesus right in the centre.
The article is a truly inspired seizing of an opportunity to harness a flash in the pan of public attention to move the gaze of a few people in the direction of biblical scholarship.
What is your favorite response to this ad?