Like many people, I receive a few “thought for the day” quotes in my e-mail each morning. Most often I delete them without too much reflection but occasionally there is something that makes me sit up and take notice. Perhaps because of the Wednesday and Friday gospels this week that focused on the miraculous feeding and healing powers of Jesus, I was led to reflect on his humanity today by Brother Curtis Almquist of the Episcopal Society of St. John the Evangelist in a short post entitled Growth. Here’s what he wrote.
I don’t think Jesus asked to be the Messiah any more than any of us asked for the deck of cards that was handed to us in our birth. But Jesus grew into the acceptance of his humanity, his gifts, his limitations, his mission, and his unfinished business, facing the same developmental issues that we all do in growing up.
Even though in theory I totally buy into Paul’s declaration to the Philippians that Jesus “emptied himself of godliness” and “became like us in all things but sin,” it’s rather stunning to think of Jesus having limitations, let alone “developmental issues.” I must admit, however, to a tiny sensation of relief and gratitude somewhere inside me as I begin to conjecture just what that might mean. I think it will take some time because there are no words that will clarify the sensation. It will take imagination, visualizing Jesus in life situations – in his youth, as a young adult and during his ministry – asking him questions about what he is experiencing in the situations in which he finds himself and then listening for answers.
Trusting that this process is not just a “flight of fancy” but rather a journey into the “imaginal” world may lead to a deepening of understanding and appreciation of Jesus as “fully human.” Why not give it a try?