10 June 2007

Blessed is he... who gets the joke

We proclaim an executed Messiah, a stumbling block to those looking for displays of power and a joke to those enthused by bright ideas. (My personal twisted version of 1-Cor. 1:23)

Frederick Buechner wrote:
There are even times when Jesus seems to see the comedy of his own life. His fellow Nazarenes, the ones he grew up with, worked with, played with, come at him with fire in their eyes to throw him off the cliff as a blasphemer at worst and a lunatic at best, and he says to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 'Physician heal yourself'" (Luke 4:23). He sees how they see the preposterousness of Jesus, the carpenter's son, putting himself forth as Christ, God's son. He sees how they are affronted by him as one who proclaims himself anointed to preach the good news to the poor when it is no news to anybody that he is himself the poorest of all. He says, "The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up ... / and blessed is he who takes no offense at me" (Matt. 11:5-6) which is to say blessed is he who sees that, all appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, he is who he says he is and does what he says he does if they will only, at admittedly great cost to their pride, their common sense, their sad vision of what is and is not possible in the stormy world, let him do it. Blessed is he, in other words, who gets the joke.
-- From Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy & Fairy Tale, pg. 59.

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