and the Cloaked Monk
1 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony.
Sometimes I think about how much of a bummer it must have been to be Jesus.
As a small business owner running a business based on alternate spirituality I know how hard it can be. Maybe people don’t disbelieve "my testimony," but a lot of the time it feels like shouting into the void.
I write pieces I think will wow people, only to have them fall flat. Crickets. I teach classes and no one shows up.
And here’s Jesus, doing the same thing – trying to spread the good word and not making much headway. It had to have been tough on him; I know it’s tough on me.
In a way though, it makes me happy to think of Jesus being bummed out – it makes him relatable.
I mean, so much of what I was taught about Jesus was that he was good. Like, Good. With a capital “G” Good.
He’s God having a human experience, and a little high and mighty for it. That’s a lot of pressure to live up to, especially growing up the child of an alcoholic with issues around being good enough.
He’s a little difficult to come before and have a relationship with. It engenders more of a feeling of wanting to run and hide.
Jesus – a relatable Jesus – feels more like a man having a Divine experience. Someone you could sit down with and have a beer, chat about the frustrations of business.
He’s not so good that you feel uncomfortable being around Him. That’s the Divine having a human experience.
It reminds me of the poem, A Short Amidah by Syd Lieberman from Kol Haneshamah: Shabbat Vehagim (the Jewish Reconstructionist prayer book) which goes like this:
They say we’re supposed to be in a palace.
So we bow and take certain steps
as the prescribed supplication
from our lips.
But do we really know
of castles and kings?
My kitchen faucet constantly leaks
and the kids’ faces
usually need cleaning.
If a door opened to a real palace,
I’d probably forget
and carry in a load of groceries.
No, the door we stand in front of
when the Amidah begins is silence.
And when we open it
and step through,
we arrive in our hearts.
Mine’s not a fancy place,
no jewels, no throne,
certainly not fit for a king.
But in that small chamber,
for just a few moments on Sabbath,
God and I can roll up our sleeves,
put some schnapps out on the table,
sit down together, and finally talk.
That’s palace enough for me.
I like the idea of a God I can sit down and chat with.
That's the human having a Divine experience. He knows his humanity, knows what it is to be in the trenches. He’s compassionate but without the pity. It’s the difference between sympathy and empathy.
He has complete faith in you, not because (being omniscient) He KNOWS but because, being human, he senses how much potential there is in the human heart, how much love there can be if we can just find enough safety to let it out.
While Divine Jesus being human is busy blessing the masses, human Jesus being Divine is dealing with what it’s like to not be understood.
Anybody who understands the pain of being misunderstood is all right with me.
I can trust that experience. I can share in it. I don’t know what it is to be Divine, but I know how painful it is for people to not “get you.”
And that’s where bummed out Jesus and I meet, compassionately and intimately. That’s where I feel safe enough with him to say “I feel ya.”
And that safety – that sacred space between the two of us – is where he can lean in and tell me he’s in it for the long haul, because, you know, people…they’re awesome. And right there, too, because I “get” him, I can venture that maybe I can stick it out a little longer, as well.
You know, for those awesome people who need what it is I do.
Me and Jesus – two folks with a calling. Two folks sometimes misunderstood. Yeah, we’re tight.