Friday, December 21, 2007

What's Jesus got to do with it?

As I was walking back to my office during lunch yesterday, I was looking around at all the buildings and people and a question popped into my head: "What does Jesus have to do with that building over there?" As I continued walking, I asked that same question about other things that I saw: "What does Jesus have to do with that security guard in front of the child development center? Or with the dead vine on that wall? Or with the homeless man asleep by the warehouse? Or with the small business owner standing outside of her shop?" I kept asking those questions without really knowing what I meant by them. I didn't mean to be offensive or secular--I just didn't see how Jesus related to those things at that moment.

Just before I got back to my office, I was finally able to vocalize the big question I was trying to ask: "What does it mean to be truly Christocentric?" Sure, I can put on my pious hat and relate everything I see back to Jesus, mumbling something about redemption and saving grace each time. But I'm not sure that that is any different than a game I used to play when I was little. I'd pick out two very different objects--say, a clock and my toothpaste cap--and try to connect them in as few steps as possible (the clock helps me keep track of time, and it is only at certain times of day that I remove the toothpaste cap so that I can brush my teeth). So perhaps I need to rephrase my question: "In what substantial way does Jesus relate to the woman selling bacon-wrapped hot dogs on the corner?"

I think what I'm getting at is that I'm not sure exactly how Jesus relates metaphysically to the common occurrences of everyday life. Yes, Jesus came to release humanity from our bondage to sin and to reconcile us to God. But I'm not sure that I can identify exactly how Jesus, dead and raised, actively relates to the drunk man on the corner. It's not that there is no relation--I just I don't know how it all works.

Because of the limits of my knowledge in that area, I am compelled to focus on ethics. Perhaps the way Jesus relates to everyday people and everyday events is through the lives and examples of Christians. Since I don't know for sure how Jesus is connected to the rest of the world, I feel drawn to be the connection. I don't know to what extent Jesus works actively in the world and I don't know to what extent he has left that up to us. But it would certainly be a shame to sit around lazily, only to find out later that Jesus expected us to make the connection.

So, what's Jesus got to do with it? Perhaps the answer to that question is up to us....

1 comment:

Let me know what you think....