Well it’s finally here! The day so many have looked forward to for two years! Mid-Term Election Day! Happy Happy!
Because the past two years have been doused in intense, angry, bitter, never-ending conflict, partisanship and emotion, this day has an apocalyptic feel. It’s either: “The evil GOP will finally lose its majority grip and with it the ability to immorally bully and flaunt injustice not only on the nation, but the world!” Or “The evil Democrats will finally FINALLY have to put a sock in it and realize the program - thank God - is not in their court anymore!”
No matter who wins tonight, someone is going to get to sing “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!”
And both sides are salivating at the chance.
For Christians, it can - should - beg the question, “What Would Jesus Do?”
Would he be reminding us that our ultimate responsibility is to caring for the poor, the stranger and the sick, so no matter what happens, we must always keep sacrificially fighting for that, for them?
Would he be reminding us that no matter what, now matter how much love we share, we are called to follow the Law - every jot and tittle of it?
Would he be reminding us that no matter what happens, this but one sign of the End Time?
If the Jesus we’d meet today is anything like the Jesus we’d meet today, perhaps….
However, I, and the the Comic Lens, will stake our claim on the thing Jesus most usually did when he wanted to teach people what to think, and do and act. Especially at an moment of ethical and/or emotional crisi
He’d tell a parable.
ARGHH! NOT THAT! PLEASE, NOT THAT!!!
As has been discussed here before, the word “parable” is related to the word “parabola.” And as you probably know, the latter is a simple figure beginning with a line moving one direction, curving around and moving back in the direction it came from…sort of…. The line of a parabola eventually shoots out from the opposite direction of its origin, moving who knows where into the great unknown. Rather than creating a nice, neat circle, a parabola fashions a mystery.
And that’s what parables are. Seemingly nice neat little easily observational tales that suddenly take a crazy, confounding turn.
“Riddle” is another word for parable. And Jesus liked to leave right after the set-up, so his hearers could (would have to?) figure out the punch line for themselves. While scratching their heads bloody.
ARGHH! NOT THAT! PLEASE, JESUS, NOT NOW, MORE OF THAT!
I can’t help but think today Jesus reminds us of one of his simple little, horrible conundrums.
What? We have to live with our deadly, blood-sucking bullying enemy until the end-time? And intertwined and completely interdependently? Why? How?
A couple of helpful hints, perhaps, and mentioned in a previous blog:
One, the monarch butterfly feeds only on noxious milkweed as it prepares to make its transformation from caterpillar to majestic work of art.
Another hint…consider this modernized parallel:
So there’s that.
Then there’s the parable of the “leaven.
Also, as previously discussed in the Comic Lens, while the usual explanation of this parable is that it reminds us that with but a little faith in God, things can grow and grow and grow, so let’s put a little faith in God in everything we do.
That’s all very nice and good, but this doesn’t sound much like a punch line, nor does it engage enough head-scratching to mess one’s hair.
However, if we remember that Jesus hearers…who are Jewish….would have heard that word “leaven” in a much different way. After all, it was UNLEAVENED bread that was holy, that represented what faith in God can do, ie save His people from slavery in order to bring them into the Promised Land.
Leaven, on the other hand, represented the unholy, what the Chosen People aren’t. It represented sin. As Paul so passionately pleaded:
So what in the world is Jesus talking about, insisting that the Realm of God becomes the Realm of God when plenty of leaven is added to make it bigger and bigger and bigger? How can the Realm of God be the Realm of God when it’s full of so many sinners, so much sin?
ARGH! PLEASE JESUS, NO PARABLES TODAY!!!
It can remain the biggest irritant, hearing Jesus tell his community that he planned to teach in parables and why?
Jesus liked to make everything sound so impossible. Beyond the realm of reason and even decency. Beyond what we believe should happen, especially when we think we’re the one who’s got the goods to be in the know.
But maybe that complete lack of expectation is a very helpful approach, when things are already impossible. If we think what happens after this election is going to be the mitigating factor changing the way we love our enemy - the ultimate test of Christ-following - or change the way our enemy loves us - and how to live in that hell is the other side of Christ-following - we probably need to think again.
However, after completely mucking up the works with his horrible (!) parables, Jesus would throw out a lifeline. He’d say (or at least infer) “With God all things are possible.”
After all, God NEVER acts in ways we expect or can even imagine. Maybe, especially today, (and after we vote!) we need to more than anything let go and let God.
Can all of us do that? No matter who is singing??