Essay

Jesus is a Moonwalking Bear

By August 8, 2012 One Comment
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Jes is away today, and her husband Jim is pinch-hitting. Jim Kast-Keat is a divergent thinker, ideation specialist, and aspiring minimalist. He is, among other things, a writer, speaker, theologian, photographer, and all around good guy. (Also, he always wears a shirt and a tie.) Jim spent over half a decade as a pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, MI and currently works as a Product Designer with sparkhouse in Minneapolis, MN. Jim and his wife Jes (the Rev. JKK) currently live in New York City where they do their best to smile, breathe, and go slowly. To find out more about Jim, go to www.jimkastkeat.com and start exploring.

The gospel of John opens with its infamous “In the beginning” and concludes with its equally infamous “The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Yet between these two axioms lies this phrase:

He was in the world and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.

In the second chapter of Luke we find the shepherds keeping watch over their sheep by night. And an angel appears before them , joined with all the company of the heavenly host. And when they finish singing their “gloria in excelsis deo” they tell the shepherds where to find Jesus, saying, “This is how you will recognize him.”

Sometimes we need someone to remind us how to recognize Jesus. Because he is in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world does not always recognize him. We need epiphany eyes to see Jesus in our world and life today.

In the twenty-fourth chapter of Luke we find two companions walking the now infamous road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. It’s about three days after Jesus had been killed (hint, hint) and they are joined by a “stranger” (wink). The “stranger” asks what they are talking about. Appalled at his ignorance to the recent events of Jesus’ execution, the one they had hoped was the Messiah and the hope for the world. In response, the “stranger” walks through Moses and all the prophets, showing these two disciples all that the Messiah was called to represent. Arriving at Emmaus, the two companions invite the “stranger” to join them for a meal. And it is in the breaking of bread that the story tells us “they recognized him.”

Sometimes Jesus is the stranger beside us, only we don’t realize it. Because he is in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world does not always recognize him. We need epiphany eyes to see Jesus in our world and life today.

In his famous painting of the supper at Emmaus (portrayed above), Caravaggio portrays Christ seated at the table. Only if you look closely you notice the shadow behind him is no ordinary shadow, but portrays a halo above his head. Christ is present, even as a stranger and sometimes hidden in a shadow.

Our epiphany eyes prompt us to see Jesus in every stranger, every shadow, everywhere. Because Jesus is a moonwalking bear.

Florence M. Taylor, in her hymn “You Are With Us,” writes:

Gladly lift we hearts and voices, unto you o God in prayer. Knowing you are always with us, You are with us everywhere. You are with us You are with us You are with us everywhere.

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