Dear St. Luke Family:
Think about your earliest memories and images of Jesus. If you are white, American, and Protestant, you might visualize a painting by Warner Sallman, “The Head of Christ” (1940). Sallman's portrait of Jesus has flowing blondish hair and pale eyes, and has been reproduced 500 million times according to one estimate. He is clean, safe, and passive, which is perhaps why Christians have plastered this image in many a child's Sunday school room. It's hard to fathom why such a harmless and respectable looking citizen (long hair notwithstanding) would ever be arrested, beaten, and crucified by establishment authorities.
Sallman's painting illustrates how easily we domesticate Jesus. This Sunday we’ll hear John’s version of “the Cleansing of the Temple,” the only violent act of Jesus recorded in the Gospels. It’s a story that challenges our projections and assumptions about a meek and mild Jesus. It reminds us that there is no such thing as "business as usual" with Jesus, and that all who come to him must come on his terms, not ours.
This Sunday is our traditional “Mariners Sunday,” and we’ll have special music from the Sons of the Sea. It’s a good Sunday to wonder: Jesus definitely rocked the boat. In what ways might we be called to rock the boat, as well?
Grace and peace,