There’s a website with an accompanying Facebook page called “Sad Jesus”. Sad Jesus has a lot of followers on Facebook including many of my friends. Sad Jesus proclaims that…
Saddened by the ever encroaching darkness, Sad Jesus seeks to bring light, name darkness, comfort the broken, and afflict the comfortable who think they have all the answers!! I take for my name, the one I seek to emulate, though sadly, I will always fall short. I trust that Love and Grace will see me through
Who is sad in this statement? This group (or these groups) names Jesus as “saddened by the ever encroaching darkness” and “I” as the sad one presumably because “I” is a sinner and will always fall short.
I (me), personally am sad. Sad because I don’t hear about Hopeful Jesus, Delighted Jesus, Amused Jesus and more. I believe that God’s Creation is good. Genesis tells us that each day of Creation by God is good and it culminates in Genesis 1:31. After God has created humanity, the text tells us “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.” NRSV
Is the world any darker today than it was when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or when Cain killed his brother Abel? It seems to me that the world only seems darker because there are more of us to sin, not that we are intrinsically more sinful.
But if we focus on Jesus’ sadness combined with humanity’s inherent sinfulness we are pretty much set up to fail. What is it exactly that we’re supposed to be doing in order not to fall short? Where is the Jesus of love and compassion who accepts us just as we are, warts and all”? Does Sad Jesus have a list of chores for us to do in order to be accepted? Or does Jesus simply yearn for us to be in relationship?
I have never felt closer to God than when I walked the Camino. The footsteps of the pilgrims who had walked it for thousands of years before I got there (yes, the Camino pre-dates Christianity) carried me along. And the other pilgrims I encountered along the way showed me what the love and grace of God looks like in human form. Some of those pilgrims are still part of my life today even though we are thousands of miles apart.
In 1994 I attended my first Five Day Academy for Spiritual Formation. I was truly a beginner on that journey — a journey that brought me into contact with some of the most inspiring, humble, and compassionate people I have ever met. It was a life-changing time.
In the lobby of the retreat house was a reproduction of a painting of Jesus. This picture of Jesus was unlike any I had ever seen. It was Jesus with his head thrown back laughing. Yes, Laughing Jesus! Jesus filled with joy and laughter, reveling in something beautiful, funny, delightful. I’ll take that Jesus any day over Sad Jesus.