This months St Max’s is all about Epiphany which loosely means manifestation or appearing. So we are looking at how we see Jesus in and through today’s culture. I asked Martin, a guy who has been journeying with us for about a year now if he would like to say something about how he views Jesus. I was thinking he would say a few words and i never expected this ! I have posted (with his permission) his text of what he is going to say tomorrow night. I love the honestly and realism at what he says, how he is able to articulate his faith in a way that is really refreshing and yet deeply challenging.
Ben quotes “ This months St Max’s is all about looking for Christ, as the wise men arrived they found Jesus as a child and then went on their way telling everyone about him… but who is he to you today, is he someone you think about and if you do how do you see him? we will be exploring Jesus as a man, freedom fighter, hero, loner, freak and many more ways.”
Its very sad to say, but our western society has been trying to removing Jesus’ deity, and trying to make him a man, a prophet, and not the son of God.
I am still on my journey into faith and, whilst nowhere near an agnostic, I am yet to get anywhere near the unshakeable faith of many people I know. However, the statement above does cause me concern over how Jesus is viewed in today’s society.
These are my thoughts on Ben’s initial statement about today’s Saint Max’s. Have you ever wondered where Jesus would fit in society if He were on earth today in the flesh? From discussions I have had, He was not the kind of a man that is portrayed by our artists today. They picture Him in a long, flowing, clean robe with almost perfectly groomed hair and beard. I recall the Alpha course I attended with quite a few of you present here this evening, we discussed the traditional view of Jesus as I have just mentioned but, where Jesus was born and raised he would, most likely have been of Arab descent with darker skin and shorter hair. The traditional view is, perhaps, a romanticised, western view of Jesus and this view can be prohibitive in our perception of his actions where we lend a ‘western’ trait to this.
The Jesus in the scriptures was a man among men. He travelled on foot and scavenged off of the land and generosity of the people, not having a place to retire at night, unless provided by some hospitable family. He was a fugitive of the system, hunted by political and religious leaders, who sought to imprison or kill Him. When He did “go to church,” He was usually shunned or asked to leave! I can associate with this statement as, to me, it gives the impression that Jesus was all about bringing people to God to help them and for their sakes, it was selfless, which cannot be said for all men of religion in today’s society and, whilst I still struggle with the idea of a single deity who created the universe and our earth and a lot of scripture, I can identify with this man as I feel he would have a place in today’s society. The closest thing we have in modern society is the person who goes against an authoritarian regime, the old saying goes” One man’s hero is another man’s freedom fighter” so, would Jesus be viewed as an enemy to some regimes in today’s society?
I agree with the tract printed by the Christian Motorcyclists Association titled, “HE WOULD HAVE RIDDEN A HARLEY!” It says: “Jesus the Biker … He was a lot like you and me. The government didn’t like him. The church thought He was weird. His friends were few. What friends He had denied Him. He was persecuted by hypocrites. He hung around people like you and me, not the goody-two-shoes Pharisees. Yes, if Jesus were on this earth in the flesh He would be next to you on His Harley telling you He loved you … enough to die for you.”
Jesus told His disciples, “…If you love me, the things that I do will you do also (John 15: 14). If we would truly be like Jesus, most of us would have to make some radical changes. I don’t see Jesus laying out His Sunday clothes on Saturday night, getting up on Sunday morning, going to church, returning home to Sunday dinner, and calling it a week. That was not His conception of spirituality.
It coincides with my , some might say, suspicion or distrust of major, organized religious events and my recent experience of a foaming-mouthed Jehovah’s Witness preaching to me on my doorstep.
I carry on my spiritual journey because I am associating with how I would see Jesus in today’s society, not necessarily pushing us all to attend church services on a regular basis but to find God, peace and our own place in his family in our own way. We are all unique as human beings so why should we all find God or Christianity in the same way??
I don’t see a man who spent His formative years in a Seminary and then went out to become chief priest or head-honcho of the Pharisees so He could speak at conventions and direct tours to the Holy Land.
I see a man among men, a rebel with a cause. I see Him riding a motorcycle into the circle at a motorcycle rally, shaking hands and offering the peace that passes all understanding to those who are floundering in a world of evil and sickness. I see Him on the highways and byways giving a cup of cool water to the thirsty. I see Him in the ghettos, the prisons, the rest homes. I see Him on the street-corners, spending the night in a homeless village spending His days in the hospital waiting rooms and in the witness rooms at the courthouse. I see Him in the centres for the homeless, offering Himself in service and ministering.
I see him as a person who would appeal to the disenchanted youth of the world, who could, hopefully, turn many of them back from the lives they lead now, involved in crime and having no future, an endless downward spiral.
Unfortunately, the establishment today is viewed, rightly or wrongly, with suspicion and not only by the young!
Hopefully this ‘freedom fighter’ and ‘man of the people’ could appeal to those who feel wronged or undermined and instil some belief into them, whether it be belief in god or just belief in themselves.