Monday, July 14, 2014

I Matter to Jesus (More Can Be Mended Than You Fear)

Some of the things Francis Spufford writes about Jesus are too beautiful not to pass on.

People ascending and descending the 450' dune at Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan.
The Real Jesus loves people, in all our miserable corruption. "Lost people arouse his particular tenderness." (Francis Spufford, Unapologetic, 128)

Jesus actively attends to:

  • People whose bodies or minds don't work correctly.
  • People who have been screwed up by their own inner propensity to screw things up.
  • People who trade purity for impurity.
  • People who are ugly, or frightening, or boring, or incomprehensible, or dangerous.
  • People who are not "like us" (whoever "we" happen to be).
All of the above applies to me! Yet I have Jesus' attention.

Love does not use people; therefore Jesus did not treat people as a means to some other end. The person who calls and asks "How are you today?" isn't interested in how I am today, but is trying to sell me something. Jesus isn't trying to sell anything.

Jesus "is never recorded as saying no to anyone. Anyone can claim his time, if they can find a way to him through the crowd, and when someone does, whatever their reason is, he speaks to them as if the dust and the noise and the reaching hands had receded and nothing else were going on in the wide world but he and they talking. All his conversations seem to be personal."

Spufford, 128

When Jesus counsels the rich man to give away all his things he's not doing this to alienate him; this is Jesus' real prescription for the man's problems.

Jesus "seems to know the names of strangers without asking. He knows things about their histories too. One by one, as they get their moment with him, they are each vividly, substantially present to him. They matter. They matter in themselves. They are not means to an end ." (Ib., 129) Jesus is not some schmoozing politician trying to get votes.

For Jesus "it is not a good day for him when he wins lots of new followers, or a bad day for him when he doesn’t. Yeshua’s sense of people is not additive. More is not better. Each person in front of him is, for that moment, the one missing sheep." (Ib.) 

And, writes Spufford, Jesus "is never disgusted. He never says that anything— anyone— is too dirty to be touched. That anyone is too lost to be found. Even in situations where there seem to be no grounds for human hope, he will not agree that hope is gone beyond recall . Wreckage may be written into the logic of the world, but he will not agree that it is all there is. He says, more can be mended than you fear. Far more can be mended than you know." (Ib.)