Though raised a baptist who never heard the word lectionary before seminary, I am now a lectionary following Circuit Rider for The Beatitudes Society and a lectionary style pastor of Koinonia Church in Second Life. This week as I’m looking at the text for the upcoming Sunday I’m having a little trouble jumping from adoring the swaddling babe with the wise men just last week to wading in the water with the big ole, stinky, walkin’ in the wilderness adult Jesus. Between reading the assigned text for the week and meditating on the beatitudes I’ve also spent some time walking around in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal.
I want to linger a few more weeks with innocence of the child, the playfulness, the spazzy, quirkiness that comes with being still new to the world and so intrigued by the mysteries of universe. The Gospel of Thomas and Lamb help bring Jesus to life for me in extraordinarily human ways.
The child we find in the Gospel of Thomas who played in the mud is also the man who walked into the waters of the Jordan and submitted to the love of God in the hands of John. It is because I can so intimately visualize this real child, God incarnate playing in the mud, feeling stumped toes, skinned knees and even the ridicule of playmates that I can come to a deeper relationship with Christ my brother, God my creator.
This same man of whom the dove spoke praise is the one who stands on the hilltop turning the world upside down with the beatitudes. This child come man, this man washed clean by his submission to love gives us our prime directive in the beatitudes. Often regarded as words to placate the suffering in this world so that they would take comfort in a life to come, they are more a manifesto of how we are called to see the world and who we are called to serve. Over the next few weeks we will be moving closer and looking deeper at the beatitudes, Jesus’ bullet points of justice, compassion and peace. It is because I know God as my brother, child, brash youth, gritty, embodied man, oh and Risen Lord, that I take so seriously the sermon on the mount.