Jesus Comes Home With Us
Sunday, June 11, 2017, Gathered Worship
by Elizabeth Dede
God gave his only Son that we might have eternal life. So we have the question, What does this mean for us today?
I’ve been reading the “Cotton Patch Evidence,” with our new Intern, Drew, and right now we are in the chapter, “According to Clarence.” The Cotton Patch translations were a way to bring Jesus to us. In the first chapter of John’s gospel we hear that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. For Clarence, when the Word became flesh, Jesus was, in fact, “plain, sweaty, down-to-earth flesh.” God loved us so much that he took on a physical body in Jesus and gave him to us.
Jesus died for us, but he was also raised that we might, too, be raised. So what does the resurrection mean? For Clarence, “the essence of the incarnation and the resurrection. . . was that man has to deal with God in the flesh.” Some of us have wondered what Clarence would think about the cross on the chapel here at Koinonia. “He saw crosses on steeples not as glorious testimony to the humanity of God but as offensive reflection of the church’s persistent deification of Jesus. He once said to a pastor who had just proudly pointed out the modern $10,000 cross atop a new church that he had been cheated on that price. ‘Time was,’ Clarence said, ‘when Christians could get those crosses for free.’” Maybe Clarence would have been OK with ours since it is plain, old wood, most likely recycled from some other project.
Jesus came in “plain, sweaty, down-to-earth flesh,” and then he died a very physical death, with much physical pain and suffering, It was a humiliating death, but Jesus took it on for us that we might have eternal life.
What is the resurrection? “Clarence viewed the resurrection as God’s refusal to stay on the other side of the grave. ‘He raised Jesus, not as an invitation to us to come to heaven when we die, but as a declaration that He himself has now established permanent residence on earth,’ Clarence said. ‘The resurrection places Jesus on this side of the grave, here and now, in the midst of this life. The Good News of the resurrection is not that we shall die and go home with him, but that he is risen and comes home with us, bringing all his hungry, naked, thirsty, sick, prisoner brothers with him.’”
So in eternal life, Jesus will be with us always. Where do we find Jesus now? We see Jesus whenever we are hungry and sit down to eat with each other. We see Jesus in communion when the bread and juice become the body and blood. We see Jesus at Harvest of Hope, the food pantry, when hungry people come simply to get food. We see Jesus in the men in prison who need a bag of clothes. On and on, Jesus is present to us in plain old flesh, here on earth. He was raised that we also might be raised. He is present with us that we might be present with him. And as we know the presence of Jesus we begin to know the Kingdom of God on earth, as it is in heaven.
Thank you God for your love that was in the beginning with the Word; for your love that became flesh and dwelt among us; for your love that is your only begotten Son that you gave. Help us to believe. Thank you for everlasting life. Amen.