This will probably sound like a wild flight of ideas (or the first few minutes of a Simpsons episode), but follow me here…
I have kind of a wild imagination. It’s been that way ever since I was a kid, though instead of using it to fight the mecha-Nazis in the 23rd dimension, it’s adapted now to imagine scenarios where I speak to other adults and the things I’d say that sound super clever and everyone thinks I’m really smart. I often promptly forget these imaginary interactions (along with my super witty statements), leaving me looking, well, less than clever.
l recently had one of these fictional engagements with the bartender at my local dive bar. She’s a pretty awesome bartender, but was pretty unhappy to hear that my Lent fastings would keep me from visiting for a period of time. I had promised her that, following Lent, I would return with a bottle of 10-year Ardbeg to share.
Here’s where the imagining kicks in. I imagined us toasting, and she asked me, “So what are we toasting to?” The first thing that came to my mind was this: “To the Risen Christ, whose horrible death and glorious resurrection means hope for the oppressed, liberation of the captives, and the toppling of the powers that be.”
Pretty clever, right? The bartender thought so too.
My imagination has me thinking about my theology now, though. You see, I seek to determine the best understanding of God I can find, and my belief that everything speaks to the nature and plan of God leads me to the conclusion that finding the best understanding of God isn’t quite so simple (and that’s a good thing). I’m learning that the things I thought HAD to be true about God are, in fact, based on a contextual metaphysical model which, though valid, is not necessarily mandatory, effectively muddying the waters I was attempting to clarify.
This points me in the direction of Jesus of Nazareth as my living example of how God should conduct Godself (Christocentrism). Jesus, that radical preacher from Galilee who had a knack for fanning the stink of the authority’s crap right back in their faces, who loved with wild abandon those whom they had rejected, and preached an imminent end to oppression. His disciples thought he was God incarnate, and wrote of his exploits in that light. I, for one, agree with them, so I filter anything I hear about God through the teachings and actions of this one man who gave us back humanity to those who had been robbed of it, and who offers the same to me every day.
That is a God worth toasting. So, on this day, raise your glass and say this with me:
“To the Risen Christ, whose horrible death and glorious resurrection means hope for the oppressed, liberation of the captives, and the toppling of the powers that be.” Amen.