On another forum, someone replied to yesterday’s post with, “So what if Jesus was only inconvenienced?”
Well, good point. I said I was willing to be proven wrong, and the best shoot-down to all my head-spaciness would be, “Why would there need to be more to it than that?”
(I’m the queen of “Surely that can’t be all there is to it?” which, as you can imagine, was a big trial to my Patient Husband back when he was my Patient Boyfriend. No kidding, he said to me once, “You always ask why I say the things I do,” and I replied, honestly, “Why do you say that?” And then we had a good laugh at my expense.)
Two weeks ago, I was struck by the Luminous Mysteries, how they’re just so…ordinary. In The Life of Pi, the narrator states that the grandest of Jesus’s miracles was nothing that the most minor deity in the Hindu canon wouldn’t have been able to do. Walking on water? Multiplying bread? Healing a blind man? Child’s play!
Even the Transfiguration: so Jesus glowed and talked to two dead people. That would take about 1/10000000th of the budget of any SF film for Dreamworks to whip up. In fact, I could do it in Photoshop.
The “magic” of Christianity (and to a large part Judaism as well) is that God doesn’t wow us most of the time. God takes very humble, simple things (bread, oil, water, wine, fire) and sanctifies them. For every parting of the seas (count: one) there’s a lot more healing, prayer, quietness, and works done in secret.
God seems to like the ordinary. To misapply a quote by CS Lewis, “He made lots of it.”
I still like my theory, but in the end, it’s not as if it makes that much of a difference overall. Either death changes a person or it doesn’t, but here and now, there’s no real application to the answer. (Or, as XDPaul commented, death is now rendered just an inconvenience for all of us.) We still don’t want to die. Jesus clearly didn’t want to die. It’s not a picnic. Christians are still charged to say to God that His will is better than ours.
So, why not sanctify death? Just plain old garden-variety death, no toppings necessary?
The problem is that there is nothing He can’t do, so there is no way to show His full power.
Look at the last two plagues. Ra is under Set’s protection. Set is supposed to free the sun whenever it is captured and defend it when it is challenged.
The first born son of Pharaoh is under Horus’s protection.
So you get the two strongest gods in Egypt defeated back to back with mind-numbing ease. I think it’s telling that these two were saved for last.
We were treated to wonders unimaginable. Noah’s flood. The burning bush. The parting of the sea. The wonders at Sinai.
Then you get the smaller miracles–the oil that burns 8 times as long as it should.
Our lives are the culmination of the small and the large and G-d loves us so deeply He involves himself with the tiny things as well as the grand.
Water to wine is interesting because in Exodus you get
Water -> blood
But in the gospels you get
Water -> wine -> blood
The bible is very clear that blood is life.
That step between reminds me of the incarnation of Jesus as invoked in prayer. For the Jews (bound up in Exodus) it’s a direct person G-d communication. For the Christian (bound up in the Gospels) it’s a person Jesus G-d communication (no one gets to the Father save through me).
Jesus then stands as the sweetness of wine, the symbol of celebration, and, in such a role, makes the connection easier and more pleasing. When the people stood at Sinai they were terrified and asked Moses to go on their behalf. We don’t get any sense in the Gospels that the most humble peasant was terrified to talk to Jesus.
That might be why the grandiose nature of the miracles is tuned way down with Jesus. Because columns of smoke and fire leading a nomad tribe might be mind-blowing, but multiplying bread is homey and comforting.