Jesus is a traveler and a freedom fighter, living on the edge of danger, dogged by controversy. His challenges to the establishment draw attention and enemies. Maybe we’d like more stories about healing the sick and blessing children; what we get is the reality of a social and political dangerous journey. We are called to emulate Jesus with lives of courage and resolve. To wait in fear or indecision, is not an option when God intrudes or the powers of oppression – racism, classism, homophobia – are at the door. A way forward must be made, even when we have no road map. Art depicts Jesus as an ultimate peacemaker, cradling a baby lamb. There is a more realistic picture – that of rabbi and sage, preaching among the rabble; breaking bread with the rejected and despised; a fighter. For what do we fight? What is our own personal, dangerous journey?
We also heard Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken,” with the telling line: knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. The Jesus life has no destination. It has purpose, but not an end point. It is not about arriving at perfection or heaven. Ours is a theology of journey. We move through our days, following a traveling God – who promises to love our broken, messy and unpredictable selves; to accompany us and remain steadfast in our choices, questions, and misgivings. We travel accompanied by an endlessly shifting crowd of other beings and creatures. And even when we imagine we are alone, we are not. Perhaps all true Jesus followers should have at least one enemy, for it is impossible to speak loving truth in this treacherous world without offending someone. Do not waste what Mary Oliver calls this “one wild and precious life” in indifference.