Today Jesus comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. Depending on what kind of day we’re having, or depending on our circumstances in life, we may be tremendously comforted by his words—or not. Blessed are we and woe to us…
It is simplistic, of course, to divide humanity into two categories: the poor, hungry and sorrowful on the one hand; the rich, full and laughing on the other. Jesus’ own life would not have fit neatly into either category. The human experience comprises all of the above and much more. The teacher’s warning note is that whatever our experience, whether joy or sorrow, whether poverty or wealth—it will not last. Life is in flux…always in flux. We may get what we deserve—or not.
What was Jesus thinking? What is the mind of Christ? The reading from Phillipians at Morning Prayer spoke of “the mind of Christ”. “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,” Paul says. I thought of “the mind of Christ”, a couple weeks ago looking at some paintings. The art museum in Philadelphia has an exhibit of a series of oil sketches by Rembrandt of the face of Jesus. There is an almost hypnotic quality to these faces: they are not sorrowful, nor are they happy faces. They are, somehow, deeply human faces that somehow, embrace both. They are faces that, somehow, embrace both joy and sorrow. Somehow, miraculously, a deep, deep empathy with the full breadth of our human condition is conveyed in these images. Joy and sorrow. Richness and poorness.
How can a face be all these things at the same time? Perhaps that’s what we’re here to learn. Perhaps this is Wisdom, the mind of Christ. “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.”
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