As much as we love and appreciate this Jesus— the one who walked the cobblestone streets of Phoenicia and slept in a simple mud and stone house in Nazareth, the one who preached from the high places in Galilee and spent most of his time with fisherman and other common, broken folk; to be sure there are images of this Jesus that are a bit too human for our comfort or taste.
An exalted Christ, we can adore, we can venerate, we can honor. A deified Lord we can praise, worship, and look to in troubled times. If we are honest, we spend very little time contemplating this Jewish man of the Scriptures who cried out and sweat blood and wielded a whip in the temple and spat onto the ground to form clay. We don’t have a lot of time for the man who struggled in the wilderness and faced the brutal assault of the enemy. Come to think of it, we don’t have a lot of time for our own struggles these days either, such that it makes perfect sense then that we have turned from this Jesus who walked the earth to focus more on the Christos Victor.
Only the discipline of Lent catches us here, it invites us into the wilderness with him and it asks us to struggle through and if we aren’t very careful, something difficult and wonderful will happen out there in the barrenness of the rubble and dirt. We watch Jesus, spit onto the ground, form clay between his strong rugged fingers and apply the fresh, wet earth to our eyes. We wash and emerge from the wilderness of Lent as persons who have gained new sight, able to see things differently than we did before, aware that he is there, with us, through it all and that by his hands even the most unpleasant, unsavory, miserable matters can, become miracles of healing and refreshment.
“Open my eyes that I might see visions of love Thou hast for me…” Amen.