14 January 2008

Right Relation With All Creation

The lecture is over, the coffee is poured down the drain, Jesus was not found in the tomb and the women ran away scared. I just finished presenting a fifty minute lecture on the entire Gospel of Mark. Filled with wonderful narrative, historical and textual criticisms, I walked the students through picking apart the text written so long ago for these persecuted Roman Christians.

Questions swirl in my mind as I cool down...
How can we trust this story to be accurate? Does this storyrepresent what really happened in Jesus' life or is it a fiction made up by the author for the benefit of comforting the community to which itwas written? Do miracles really happen or are these "signs and wonders" included just to drum up support for the Jesus people? Why are the disciples so stupid? What really does this text written 1900 years ago to people that old from a different country have to do with me as I sit here drinking my herbal tea in a nicely heated office typing on a laptop computer?

My Buddhist/Hindu (he can't decide) friend tells me it's relevant because the text is written in the universal language of the mind. I'm not sure exactly what that means. What I do know is that there is some aspect of the text that speaks to something deep within my heart.

Eventhough Jesus never tells us what the Good News or the Gospel we need to believe is exactly, I get it. Stripping off all the apocalyptic expectations of the early church, we are left with a message of humanity: Living in right-relation with all of creation. Taking of ourselves what we know and the talents we have and offering them to all that exists around us is what makes the message of the gospel relevant to me. I may not be being persecuted for burning down Rome but I do feel the pain of loneliness inherent in our individualized society and crave the comfort of a community hell bent on making the world more just and sustainable.
--David DeLauro

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