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Jesus Christ, Detail of De�sis mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey.
Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation
Jesus, the Christ
Following the Shape-Shifter
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Jesus clearly taught the twelve disciples about surrender, the necessity of suffering, humility, servant leadership, and nonviolence. The men resisted him every time, and so he finally had to make the journey himself and tell them, “Follow me!” But we avoided that, too, by making the message into something he never said: “Worship me.” Worship of Jesus is rather harmless and risk-free; actually following Jesus changes everything.
Why does the Bible, and why does Jesus, tell us to care for the poor and the outsider? Because we need to stand in that position for our own conversion. We need to be in a position to actually need the mercy of God, the forgiveness of God, the grace of God. When we are too smug and content, then grace and mercy have almost no real meaning. They are just words. Forgiveness is not even desired or thought necessary (see Luke 7:47).
Jesus is always on the side of the crucified ones. He changes sides in the twinkling of an eye to go wherever the pain is. He is not loyal to one religion, to this or that group, or to the worthy; Jesus is only and always loyal to human suffering. Jesus is what mythology called a “shape-shifter,” and no one seeking power can use him for their private purposes. Those whose hearts are opened to human pain will see Jesus everywhere, and their old dualistic minds will serve them less and less, for the Shape-Shifter ends up shifting our very shape, too.
The Gospel gives our suffering personal and cosmic meaning, by connecting our pain to the pain of others and, finally, by connecting us to the very pain of God. Any form of contemplation is a gradual sinking into this fullness, or what I call the unified field, which always produces a deep, irrational, and yet very certain hope. And we never know exactly where it came from!
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