My Intervention with Jesus
David R. Weiss – February 15, 2021
Me and Jesus go way back. I wasn’t just born into a Christian family; I was born on Jesus’ birthday—named “David” after the city of his birth. So, I sorta feel like we’re … family.
Which is why I was more than a little distraught to see him parading around near the Capitol on January 6. It was more than just seeing him there. It was the red MAGA baseball cap and the WWG1WGA hashtag (“where we go one, we go all) that really bothered me. I mean, friends don’t let friends party with insurrectionists at the Capitol. Especially when that friend is the supposed Son of God. So I called him on it.
I said, “Jesus, dude, really? What are you thinking? Don’t you know—your actions impact millions of people?”
Of course, he knew that already. In fact, he was a bit sheepish about the whole thing. (But not “Sorry, I wasn’t thinking” sheepish; more “lamb of God” do-you-really-want to-have-this-conversation? sheepish.)
“Listen, friend, do you think I wanted to be there? Why do you suppose that mix of white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, and militantly misguided citizens thought to carry me around the Capitol with nary a concern for my own professed loyalties?
“Maybe because that Jesus being paraded around in a MAGA cap with a Qanon hashtag—that isn’t some newfangled distortion of me. Most churches have kept my loyalties pretty much under wraps all these years, making me complicit in your own silence toward social evils of all sorts. Whether in stained glass windows, or Sunday School curriculum, or in the sermons from your pulpits, how often did you let me weigh in on your pursuits to colonize whole lands and enslave boatloads of people (that is, those who didn’t die in the crossing)? How often did you give me a chance to respond to your genocidal greed for this land, your breech of treaty after treaty after treaty? You wiped out entire nations of God’s children, while my portrait silently graced your churches in unholy blessing of your deeds.”
He dropped his voice to a whisper as though to contain his anger, “How dare you.”
I wanted to say, “Yes, but—” But he wasn’t having it.
“While you drug your feet over civil rights—hell, you weren’t dragging your feet you were racing to twist slavery into Jim Crow into voter suppression into mass incarceration—and all this while you put ‘In God we trust’ on the money and inserted ‘God Bless America’ at the end of your State of the Union addresses. But me, I wasn’t allowed to say a damn thing about the least of these Black Lives that matter so dearly to me!”
My ears were getting seared, but there was no stopping him now.
“You only begrudgingly acknowledged women as your equals (they’ve often been your betters!), but along the way do you know how many times you invoked ME to demean their dignity?! I do. And how dare you! And those rainbow queer children I welcomed on God’s behalf—who desperately but deeply knew themselves beloved—you did your best to undo that welcome. You sang praises to me while damning them in my name. How dare you!”
“For Christ’s sake—” he caught the irony in his words and upped the ante while raising his voice, “For God’s sake, you threw the very children I took into my arms INTO CAGES—torn from their families—and beyond a few weak words of indignation, what ruckus did you raise to defend these little ones? How many tables did you overturn in the halls of Congress on their behalf?! Do you think your calm beleaguered demeanor made clear to others the cost of discipleship I declared?”
I was done for, but he had one more volley (or two?) left in his voice.
“For generations now you’ve treated this earth, not one bit like it was “the Lord’s—and the fulness thereof,” but like it was your personal cesspool. And how often, while you’ve strip-mined and clear-cut and polluted and fouled things as far as you can reach, how often have you considered what I—who you yourselves say is the very Word “through whom all things were made”—might say about the systems and habits, the principalities and powers that grind up creation for one more damn dollar? How dare you!”
A long dreadful silence ensued. During which I prayed to simply disappear, while Jesus was positively heaving with prayerful anger. Until he closed with these words.
“You say—and you’re right—that Trump didn’t make America an uglier place, he merely revealed the ugliness festering just beneath the surface. He merely invited and amplified the ugliness that has misshapen this country since its origins to venture more fully into the open all over again. So listen, my friend, that Jesus being paraded around in a MAGA cap with a Qanon hashtag—that isn’t some newfangled distortion of me.
“No, it’s the damning revelation of how silent—and worse—churches have been about who I really am. Generations—centuries!—of silence and cooperation in unspeakable evils against your fellow humans, your companion creatures, and your home itself all the while claiming loyalty to me—have made me the unwilling mascot of whatever the latest malevolence happens to be. That’s why you saw me up at the Capitol on January 6.
“Any intervention—and I wholeheartedly endorse an intervention—ought to begin in your pulpits and in your sanctuaries and in your lives. Let justice roll down—in my name. Let the least of these always be at the forefront of your concern—in my name. And let creation be the recipient of your reverence and repair—in my name. Do these things without ceasing and there’ll be far less confusion about who I am.
“And far less confusion about who you are, too.”
So much for my intervention with Jesus. Turns out it was really an intervention with me. Maybe with you, too?
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David Weiss is a theologian, writer, poet and hymnist, doing “public theology” around climate crisis, sexuality, justice, diversity, and peace. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more at www.davidrweiss.com where he blogs under the theme, “Full Frontal Faith: Erring on the Edge of Honest.” Support him in writing Community Supported Theology at www.patreon.com/fullfrontalfaith.