My son is constantly pointing things out to me: “Airplane!” “Bus!” “Flower!” “Dog!” These are things that I often don’t notice. There are lots of reasons I don’t notice them… I’ve seen it before. I don’t need it now. It’s not important to me.
This is the world I live in, the reality construct around myself. Things are only there if they are of use to me. Those are the concrete things. The real things.
Of course that is not actually true. The things that I don’t noticed are real and have a real existence outside of the bit of the world I notice. This is true from the flowers I walk past to the person on the corner to Jesus.
We spoke a little about this in my New Testament class last night. According to the testimony of the Scripture, Jesus isn’t dead. But we treat him like he is. Dead people rarely surprise us. They don’t interact with us. They don’t talk to us. Though we may learn new things about them, they don’t do anything new. They become a fixed point, which we can reference as the mood or need takes us.
Jesus is alive. But I often treat him like part of the scenery, nice, but not important enough to notice. I construct a reality in which he is known and defined and safe… a fixed point that I can circumvent or locate as needed.
I’m starting to think that the Jesus I have been living with has become an idol. It’s my projection and definition of Jesus (based on encounters with a real and living Jesus) constructed so I don’t have to deal with a messy and living Christ. One that contradicts me and tells me I’m wrong and challenges me and asks me uncomfortable questions and sees me at my worst.
Of course there is another side to the story. Dead people don’t love. They don’t pursue you. They are not passionate about you. Jesus is alive. He is real. He loves. He pursues. He is passionate about us.
When a person is dead the relationship is pretty much over– what is said is said, what is done is done. A living relationship is always in flux. It can be deepened. It can be renewed. Even if it becomes broken, there is always the hope of reconciliation, which is always Christ’s heart. A living relationship is full of possibility.
The world is starting to become a lot more interesting…