Considering Jesus

Last week we had a wonderful workshop on Christology at the Novitiate House. For homework, we were asked to read Consider Jesus by Elizabeth Johnson: Waves of Renewal in Christology which I highly suggest - it's very readable. We also had another reflective assignment which invited us to consider our own images of Jesus.

I was reminded of a post I wrote way back in the beginning of my journey with my groovy sisters where I shared my reflections for another homework assignment on Jesus. The question then was "How do you experience the call of Jesus in your life."

At first I thought, "Of course Christ is the basis for Christian Spirituality. CHRIST-ian." But as I reflected more on it, I thought of all those Christians who can’t really get beyond the Historical Jesus. He’s a great guy, a good role model and teacher, sure the Church is named after him, but come on ….

I can say that because I’ve been there. When I first came back to the church 6+ years ago after 10 years away, I wasn’t so sure about that Jesus guy. God the creator – check. Just look around at the glory of creation. God the Holy Spirit – that one worked for me. But God incarnated in a Palestinian Jew 2,000 years ago? That one was a stretch for me for some reason. But He was patient. Slowly but surely He opened my heart and, well, let’s just say that Jesus guy has grown on me.

I've been back in the church almost 10 years now and involved with religious life for almost 4 (hard to believe), and I have to say that my relationship with Jesus is constantly changing. This was brought home to me when I completed our reflection assignment. Some of you may find it interesting to go through this exercise yourselves. The main instruction is to do the questions in the order in which they appear and to try not to read the next question until you have answered the previous one.

  1. List 5 images of Jesus in the New Testament that you find yourself returning to again and again.
  2. List 5 incidents or events in the life of Jesus presented in the NT that you find yourself returning to ...
  3. List 5 sayings of Jesus that you find yourself returning to ...
  4. List 5 of the parables of Jesus in the NT which you find yourself returning to ...
  5. List at least 5 images of Jesus not necessarily connected with the NT that you find make sense to you or speak to your understanding of who Jesus is.
  6. List any visual images from art that you find yourself using often; do the same for any pieces of music or songs; List any non-biblical literature that speaks to you of Jesus
    Use the following questions to analyze your experience
  7. In questions 1, 5 & 6, how many of your images would you characterize as divine images of Jesus and how many as human? Are there more one than the other?
  8. Do you find any connections between your listings for questions 1-4? Are there consistent images or themes recurring there?
  9. Are there any connections between the images you list in 1-4 and those in 5-6?
  10. On the basis of your analysis, write a one paragraph description of your personal Christology/image of Jesus.
I'm still working on # 10. The exercise has been a great resource of prayer and reflection for me.

It's interesting, when I asked myself the question, "Who is Jesus to me" in that post 3 years ago, my answers were: role model, brother, teacher, friend, the homeless woman I pass on the street. Last on the list was savior.

With this exercise, I was surprised to find that I had way more divine images of Jesus than what I'd classify as human. Both are still there - which makes sense as we believe Jesus to be fully human and fully divine - but I guess it shows where my own relationship is with him these days. The Resurrected Jesus came up again and again - the Risen Christ, walking with the disciples on the Road to Emmaus, talking with Mary Magdalen at the tomb when she thought he was the gardener. Another biggie was Jesus as healer, which didn't show up on my list before as all. He's still a teacher and wisdom figure for me, as well as a seeker of Justice.

The picture at the top of this post is one I "drew" years ago using a draw your own south park character tool. I made it for the blog. It's actually become a major image of Jesus for me - it came up in #5 & 6 when I did the exercise. It's Jesus after he's walked on water. It's Jesus getting ready to head to the other side of the sea after a long day preaching and healing. It's Jesus checking out those fishermen, sizing them up and wondering if they're ready to follow him. It's Jesus, calling me to live life fully and to act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with him.


Katney said...

I am going to print out the questions so that I can more easily reflect on them one at a time as you suggest.

In the meantime, I want to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. You provide a regular dose of fascination, spirituality, and fun, and I thank you.

A blogger friend gave me a "You Make My Day" award today, and I pass it along to you. You can find it at my blog-- www.katneyskaboodle.blogspot.com .

Susan Rose, CSJP said...

Thanks Katney! I'll have to think of what blogs I wish to give an award to.

I'm also curious - I read on your blog that you're friends with one of my groovy sisters??