“Was Jesus God?” is a poor question. A better one to ask is “What sort of God would be like Jesus?”

I just read this great poem by Mark Strom, principal of Laidlaw College. Strom’s words:

I wrote the poem thingy one morning in a blur after reading Tom Wright. He said that people ask, Was Jesus God? Well, according to most people’s pictures of God, the answer is, No, Jesus was not THAT God. The gospel turns the question around: What kind of God could become Jesus? That’s when I wrote, “This God could…” Don’t worry about the (c) bit. It’s for everyone.

This God

This God could put on eyebrows and kneecaps, tear ducts and saliva glands.
This God could be born under the tyrants Augustus and Herod.
This God could accept the smells of shepherds, and the extravagancies of political emissaries.
This God could start life a vulnerable hunted child born into scandal.
This God could grow up under foreign domination and among terrorists and outcasts.
This God could sit in the street playing marbles.
This God could wear with pride the calloused splintered hands of an honest workman building the houses and fixing the furniture of half-castes, outcasts and bigots.

This God could ask his cousin to baptise him along with the rest of the crowd.
This God could make the best vintage Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon even when the guests were too drunk to know the difference.
This God could befriend a bloke in a tree with small man syndrome.
This God could enjoy a prostitute washing his feet, giving her his full and undivided attention, and ignoring the eye-rolling of lawyers and theologians.
This God could spend a whole night making a whip to crack over the backs of con artists who rip-off the poor.

This God could wrap the greatest truths in the simplest stories, and put a sting in the tail of every yarn.
This God could let himself hang on a tree, nails tearing at his sinews, blood, faeces and urine running down his legs.
This God could invite women to be the first to know that he was back.
This God could delay his own glorious homecoming long enough for a bite of breakfast on the beach and a yarn with an old friend to let him know there were no hard feelings and to pass on his mantle.
This God could take his own story and give it the most surprising ending.

This God, this God, is worth knowing.
This God could reach into the crevices of my soul to bring to life the longings I smother so pathetically and recklessly with shame and excuses.
This God could raise me up to life with him.
This God could give me every blessing he could give himself.
This God could draw me out of my petty self-interest without a hint of a ‘tut-tut’, a frown, or a patronising smile.
This God could be more infuriating and fascinating and gobsmacking than any god I could ever make up.

This God could love my obsessiveness and overlook my forgetfulness.
This God could laugh and cry with me, and come play with me.
This God could make me his glory.
This God could love me.
This God could trust me.
This God could never be safe, but always be good.
This God, this God, is worth knowing.
This God I want to know.
This God I know in the face and Spirit of Jesus.

(hat-tip to Sam)


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