[bl]W[/bl]e like our blond haired, gentle Jesus. The one we’ve created in the image we think he ought to be and look and act. Jesus is perfect, this we know. But our human minds and hearts struggle to capture perfect in the form of a man. What does that look like? So in our naivety we sketch the white skinned, long haired Jesus that famously is printed in all the childrens Bibles.
And the Jesus we like to identify with and tell people about is the ever loving, full of grace, resurrected Jesus who also “died on the cross for our sins.” And when we speak of his life, death and resurrection, we claim the resurrection as the miraculous part. His life is amazing and challenging. His death, humbling. But his resurrection? That’s one miracle no one’s been able to imitate. Others have hung on a cross. But only one has ever risen from the dead to live and walk again.
I look forward to Easter Sunday, when we will spend the day reveling in this glorious act of God. This life giving hope to all death. But until then, I want to see Jesus for who he really is. Raw. Not the beautified easy one to love and serve. But the one who suffered. The one who entered into the darkness of this world and spent his life engaging our sin and speaking truth into an envisioned future for all those who would believe.
The suffering Jesus is not the Jesus we rest in. He’s not the one that we normally go to for comfort. Because suffering is scary for us. We spend a lot of time and energy trying to avoid suffering. But to know Jesus — to really know Jesus — one must also know suffering. And to me, it’s this suffering, this cross in his life that is truly miraculous. For what other God has chosen to suffer on behalf of those he created and loves? What other God humbly became man so we would know him?
This cross shaped Jesus is more difficult to approach. We don’t know how. But I want to try.
During these days of Lent, I will be making sincere efforts towards seeing Jesus raw. For approaching him in the quiet and erasing all the preconceived images I have of him. I will seek to understand how I am also called to the cross. How the suffering Jesus shapes my life.
To prepare me for this journey of discovery, I will be eating only raw foods from morning until night (with the exception of a meal shared with my family at dinner) . This way of eating is a symbolic gesture that I hope will help me keep it raw. Raw foods, the raw quiet, raw words spoken in prayer — all to see a raw Jesus.
Blessings on each of you as you begin this time of Lent.