I have found myself dwelling on our Pilgrim formation series and this week’s Session 3: Do you believe in his Son Jesus Christ?
At our baptism and confirmation, we affirm, “Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ, Yes I turn to Christ!” But who is this Jesus?
I sometimes explain Jesus as being like The Simpsons cartoon series. Like the Simpsons, Jesus is accessible on multiple levels. When I watch the cartoon with the youngsters in my life, I love to hear them giggle as Bart plays a prank, Homer says: “Doh!” or Crusty the Clown makes yet another faux pas. Conversely, I find humour and meaning in this cartoon the children can’t see. Our difference in life experience and maturity allows us to access the story, the lessons and the laughs at different levels, meaning that we can enjoy it together, but each of us at our own level. For me, this is the genius of the show The Simpsons.
Jesus too is accessible through his humanity, and as a teacher and story teller. For example the story of the Lost Sheep in Matthew 18:12-14 might speak to me about the abundance of God’s grace and the beauty of being restored to Jesus’ flock even if I go astray. I might find comfort and safety in knowing that Jesus will always look for me and come to the places where I feel lost.
Conversely, a four or five year old may hear the story and learn that Jesus loves them and will look for them. They may see the sheep as cuddly, and the shepherd as one who cares for others, is gentle and leaves no one out. From this they might learn to include everyone and know that they are loved.
Revisiting our baptismal vows or looking at them for the first time is important because like watching a multilayered cartoon show, as we grow we meet Jesus differently each time we hear His teaching, and take part in His story. The beauty of each of these encounters, each of these layers of revelation and understanding, is that we get to keep saying “Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ!”