Jesus in our Time – 3

Jesus in our Time – 3

It was in the time of President Biden, after the would-be reign of the would-be-king Trump — pretender to the throne that should never be –, before the Great Election of 2024, where the people of the United States, within the constraints of their existing, never perfect, and now — due to the Republican party’s decision to coalesce around rather than repudiate a man who neither understood nor valued this democratic republic (seeking instead personal domination over whatever powers and wealth the government had, over time, acquired) — perilously wobbly, would make a choice of profound consequence, though many of them seemed to grasp neither the stakes, nor their privileges, nor their responsibilities.

It was a time that tried the soul and taxed the mind, for much worked to tempt one’s heart away from the heart of the matter, and one’s mind away from the God’s honest truth.

It was a pleasant time to work and live there in a warm, sunny, dry-aired city nestled into the rolling, brown-grassed foothills of the Rocky Mountains, sacred gray-based, white-sharp teeth cutting through the gumlands of the Western United States and Canada.

Oh how the sun rose over the park-lined sparkling river, and ah how it shined upon the cute downtown nestled beside the rock-baring hills, and mmmh how the Light blared through the hearts and minds of the many who lived in the joy of a free city in a free country. Can you imagine the happiness of not having to fear your government? Can you imagine what it is like to speak your mind, not just in private, but anywhere, to think and say what you find is best, and to find the Truth in your own way and in your own time, without having to pretend you understand or agree with whatever dogma your rulers demand you bow to? I’m talking about not having to fear falling with your loved ones into poverty, prison, or worse. I’m not talking about having your feelings hurt. I’m talking about actually bad things — not having to fear those. It’s so great!

And yet the people had forgotten. They had forgotten how lucky they had been for so long. They had forgotten how shitty things could get. And so they danced and/or pouted upon the brink, confusing God’s grace for God’s stamp of approval, confusing God’s glory for their own, confusing their luck for their salvation, confusing everything, and often drinking and eating or at least eating and tv-ing too much all the time.

But the underlying truth of this time and place was that these were all just people, no better or worse than anyone else in the world. They were all just people, and God did not love them any more or any less than God loves anyone. Indeed, it has been mathematically proven that God loves everyone equally:

1. God’s Love is absolutely infinite (infinite in kind as well as degree)

2. Thus does God’s Love explode with complete infinity (simultaneously in all possible forms to all possible degrees, getting therefore at every possible nuance of kind regard and gentle touch) and so bursts through everyone and everything like an atomic explosion through your sleepy unsuspecting but now evaporating village.

Therefore, all are super-saturated with God’s Love, all are 100% overwhelmed and claimed by the Love that chooses everyone.

Therefore, God loves us all equally — we all receive, and are indeed blasted asunder by, an absolutely infinite portion of Purest Love (a Love not diluted with any hopes, fears, greeds, delusions, or etc. human follies*).


*We call them “follies” because they are not the wisest way, but it is wise to remember that we need illusions to play at being creatural, and it sin is not so much being mistaken about what’s really going on as prioritizing that mistake over the wider, deeper insight that Love is All and Love is kind, is gentle, is careful, is honest, is clear and whole.

I was there in the campaign office in a beige-stone building not far from the church we went to before but didn’t attend there I don’t know why I guess Jesus worshipped somewhere because he was really serious about God and holiness and communities of believers don’t you know

The office was two small rooms with white walls, tall woodframed windows, and tightly woven industrial grade carpeting with little bounce and no ambition. It was near our apartment in the fancier, older part of this straight-shooting, newish city and just inside the downtown. Between our neighborhood and the office loomed a giant health food coop and its mighty rectangular parking lot of asphalt and patient memories under elms and fronted by a row of shops, including a kind of fun vegan or at least hipstery restaurant.

The sun was shining brightly as winter melted and spring froze or congealed or otherwise became solid and certain.

I was on a cushion at a small rectangular wooden coffee table, writing important memos on my laptop. Bartleby was pacing near the double windows across from me, but Susan was at a small wooden table in the corner, and so the space was small and his pivots often. Jesus was in the other room, the front room, sitting on a cushion praying. I didn’t want to say anything, but I was getting a little nervous to be working for a candidate who spent so much time praying in the office or the foothills or in the apartment or just praying all the time. “Praying for a big win?” I joked as I walked past him, on the way to the restroom down the hall. He didn’t open his eyes but smiled gently.

I’d never ran a campaign before, and I was pretty much banking on the Messiah to help me with the vision, general organization, and even some of the concrete plans and executions. Also I thought the candidate should be out there, talking to people, giving interviews, explaining his policies and why the good people of these United States should choose him over everybody else and their ideas and organizations.

Susan was helping me put together some campaign events and I was hoping Jesus would attend them, but he was pretty noncommittal.

Like we’d talk over pizza, salad and a very diluted wine at lunch.

And I’d say, “So, we’ve announced the campaign, ‘Jesus Chrysanthemum for President: Because Democracy’s a spiritual Good!’ So far no one even thinks it is a joke; no one seems to even notice at all. Slow start. And so that’s got me thinking: What if the candidate spoke in public about his candidacy and the issues he believes in, the systems he wants to put in place, the legislation and national direction he wants to nurture? Maybe that would get some people interested in our political campaign.”

And Jesus chewed his pizza thoughtfully, gazing out at the sunlit peopled sidewalk and becarred street in the windows across the room from our white linoleum table near the white marble countertop. “This innovation, this delicious bread spiced with sauce from giant New-World berries and salted with melted cheese! If we had had such as this to rest our olive oil upon! But prophets have no honor and wonders no recognition in their hometowns. As it is written.”

“OKay, and maybe that’s a good point, maybe you’re pointing out that we don’t have to worry about Nazareth not being in the United States, since you, being a savior first, a prophet second, and a politician a distant third, are bound to lose your hometown. But what I’m trying to get at here is that it’s traditional — and I think traditional because effective — for candidates to get out there in the world, to make speeches, meet people, buy ad slots … you know? I could be volunteering for Biden and trying to save the world that way, but I’m here with you because you’re Jesus Christ (here he shot me big worried eyes while his shoulders scooted back, leaving his head to turtle-telescope out in stern reproach or mock reproach or whatever), sorry, you’re who they say you are, and, … so here I am.”

Jesus laughed from his belly and gave my forearm a playful pinch. Just then a young man in a mechanical wheelchair rolled through the door. His body was so thin he looked famished, and his head was turned upward, mouth dropped open. He was accompanied by a young woman. Both wore shorts and T-shirts, for it was an unseasonable warm March day in an already mild climate where winter arrives and departs early. The man’s head banged from side to side between the rectangular cushioning-strips on either side. His eyes bulged forward. With difficulty he maintained his focus and steered himself with a little black joystick mounted on the front of one of the wheelchair arms. The young woman held the glass door open, and worked to stay out of his way as he maneuvered into the white-tiled pizzeria. Jesus’s eyes flickered with caring and then with a gently-smiling joyful love. He looked away quickly, but it was too late — the young man’s eyes were fastened onto Jesus as his head movements became less jerky, and his fingers moved the joystick more easily, without any trembles.

Later that same week, I read in the paper of a miracle cure, and I saw the young man in a photo, standing up, looking straight ahead, smiling wide for the camera. The doctors could not explain it, although some speculated that they’d misdiagnosed him and what he really had was a condition that, in rare cases, could spontaneously improve on its own, although not usually anywhere near this much this quickly; all agreed it merited further study. The young man was allowing them to run medical tests. He — still learning to speak on his own — typed through a voice box to say his recovery was a miracle, but that maybe miracles can be studied and repeated by skilled scientists who do their best and have a little luck.

I was having coffee with Bartleby when I read about the miracle in the local paper. In the coffee shop that’s in the same building as the pizzeria, which is in the downtown a couple blocks from our office on the outskirts of the downtown. The coffee shop has eclectic furniture and giant windows on two sides let the abundant sunlight pour into coffee drinkers of all ages, nodding to indie music, chatting over coffee, or coloring or playing games or otherwise hanging out with coffee and yummy little treats like blueberry scones and health nut-filled muffins with almost no sugar and more fiber than even the healthiest colons can imagine.

I said, “Maybe Jesus doesn’t really want to run a political campaign. He isn’t participating in the campaign.”

Bartleby gave a little shrug. “We lack the faith to move mountains, but surely we have the faith to tag along with Jesus when he visits us in flesh and blood, performing miracles, showing no malice only kindness, and agreeing with our political concerns.”

I smiled through the coffee haze of aroma taste caffeine ritual — why so much opulence!? and what kind of gratitude is appropriate when we live like kings together in our private workadays?, “I wouldn’t want to go around rearranging mountain ranges anyway. It’s one thing to be able to do something; it is another to be able to know how to do it wisely, without harming yourself or others. We need a faith that helps us live well — from the inside out: joyfully, decently, happily.”

Author: Bartleby Willard
Editor: Amble Whistletown
Copyright: Andy Watson

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