2. In the word “with” we have the ultimate expression of Christian community, concern, and faith.
When Jesus says
he’s assuring his followers that he’ll be there.
It took centuries of scholars to deconstruct the idea of being there with them. To focus on the difference between “among” and “with”. To splice the notion of Jesus showing up to chill with his bros or hiding in the background so they’d never know.
In fact, the whole notion of presence and particularity with Jesus has been one variation of numbering the angels on the head of a pin. It’s ultimately that meaningless because it misses the point.
The point isn’t how Jesus shows up, but that he does.
Who Jesus loves
We can be extremely focused on the nature of Jesus. But we can also be obsessed with what Jesus would want us to do. Or what good Christians are to do.
In fact, we can be so full of the idea of prayer that we mistake the human/divine connection for a one-way slot machine. With all our begging for a new job or praying to win the lottery with the ladies from your Bible Study, if anyone really believes that’s what he meant.
Getting to the root of faith then, isn’t the what then or the how or all the explanations for what is going on. All of that is entirely beside the point.
The point is the with. Jesus is with us. Because that’s what Jesus does. Jesus shows up.
Why is that what Jesus does? Because that’s what God does. And Jesus shows us the way to God.
So if you’re looking for the most important word in the Christian’s vocabulary, you might think it’s “love”. That’s the go-to. And that’s probably it. But what’s the second word? With. With gets you to peace. With gets you to love. With gets you to justice. With gets you to God.
With. It says it all.
[This is Thesis #2 of my 31 Theses. To read them all, visit the 31 Theses introduction page.]