Friday, 4 September 2009

my pictures

Jesus the alien

Consorting with Aliens
(Luke 24:13-35; 1 Peter 1: 17-23)

First of all, Jesus is a truechild of Israel; living in exile was in his blood, so to speak. His ancestors -- Abraham, Jacob, Jeremiah -- all lived as ....
my drawing for Suday Shalom- a sunday News paper in Malayalam

The appearance of an alien, however, is not just a contradiction which the believer is to overcome in order to perceive the real Christ; it is a fitting form for the manifestation of the Lord. First of all, Jesus is a true child of Israel; living in exile was in his blood, so to speak. His ancestors -- Abraham, Jacob, Jeremiah -- all lived as aliens at one time or another. Diaspora and pilgrimages were not just part of the corporate memory of his people; they belonged to his own personal history, as Matthew’s narratives of Jesus’ exile in Egypt show (Matt. 2:13-14).

Second, though the world came into being through him, Jesus was not of this world; he came from above, and for this reason he was an alien in his own country.

Finally, it seems fitting that Jesus would be recognized as an alien because he is not bound to one culture or region. One does not travel to the holy land to see Jesus: he is made known in the breaking of the bread and in this way makes all lands holy.

Is this association of Jesus with an alien a fleeting one that becomes irrelevant once he is recognized? The unknown author of 1 Peter (let’s call him Peter) doesn’t think so. Peter charges his reader to "live in reverent fear during the time of your exile." Christian time is time of paroikia, of living as an alien. Peter and the early Christian community believed that the church was a paroikia (the root behind the words "parish" and "parochial"), a community of aliens gathered to commemorate the death of one who died outside the gate, one who died as an illegal. This is not simply a ghetto of resident aliens, but an assembly of illegal aliens, meaning people who literally have no citizenship here because, as Paul says, "Our citizenship is in heaven" (Phil. 3:20). In other words, Jesus’ alien form does not vanish -- it is assumed by the church.

So perhaps "alien" is not such an ugly word. Perhaps those two Mexican men saw more clearly than most of us what the church both is and is called to be. Maybe if I walked with some illegal aliens for awhile, listened to what they have to say and invited them to stay, my eyes too might be opened and I too might confess: The Lord has risen indeed!

This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.

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