A friend posted a provocative image on Facebook.
It is a photo of a billboard. On the billboard in huge print are these words: Who stole Jesus?
It’s a question much on my mind these days. I’m preaching a sermon series called “CSI: Christians in Search of Identity” and we’re asking “Who are you” (okay, now you too have the song from The Who stuck in your head for eternity). Tomorrow we’ll take to our hearts the question of how we live The Way of Jesus.
I mean, the Jesus of Scripture. The Jesus who insisted upon preaching good news to the poor, release to the captives, and freedom from oppression for all. I mean, the Jesus who was intentional about sitting at table with those deemed outside the pale of polite society and taught his disciples that God’s vision for creation is built in just such ways. I mean, the Jesus who believed we could live with heart and compassion and invited us to find communities of support in order that we might practice a bit.
The “Jesus” who is the front man for a movement that proclaims hate without engaging in the hard work of love? The “Jesus” that lends credence to the amassing and hoarding of wealth? That “Jesus” can be stolen and hopefully never returned to this sorely aching world.
Jesus has not been stolen. The teachings of Jesus have been domesticated and manipulated and powdered and saccharined in order to justify piracy and complacency.
Perhaps the billboard ought best ask: Who stole the Heart, Minds, Imaginations and Passions of the People of Jesus?
It’s not about “them”; those Jesus thieves. It’s about us.