Rev. Michael Piazza (in his blog Liberating Word July 1, 2016) writes,
Jesus called himself “the human one.” This phrase, translated as “Son of Man” in the King James Version of the Bible, is a powerful reminder of what a human life can look like when we synchronize our heartbeat with the heartbeat of God. A life of unconditional compassion and relentless grace was how God was expressed in the Human One.
Jesus saw Himself as fully human. He saw the world through human eyes, experienced the world through a human body, and engaged people with real human ideas, emotions and compassion. He was fully human with a deep, heart connection with the Divine. Through Jesus’ life, we have a glimpse into the full potential of humanity as God created it to be – the Divine intent for humanity. Jesus said that if we lived into that potential we would be able to do even more than He was able to do.
“Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12 NRSV)
So it’s no surprise that a hundred years after Jesus’s death and resurrection people/believers turned Jesus into a sort of “Holy Superhero” who did things that no human could be expected to do. (the Gospel of John is dated between 85-100 AD – or CE = common era) All this forgiveness and inclusion, healing and wholeness, standing up and speaking out to power was done by Jesus; the super-human, the Son of God, certainly we’re not expected to do the same. That kind of theological thinking totally lets us off the hook. We have no obligation to take His life or His teachings seriously because, well… we’re “only human.”
True, we are “only human” but together we are Humanity. Instead of living down to the expectations we place on our perceived human condition why not live up to our Divine human potential? I’m lonely, I’m exhausted, I’m thirsty, I’m hungry, I’m out of resources…
Jesus, The Human One:
- gathered disciples not only to teach them but to have them help share His teachings and outreach with the poor and downtrodden
- was so exhausted from all of the demands placed upon him, he fell asleep in the bow of a small boat tossed on a stormy sea.
- was so thirsty in the heat of the day, he asks a woman of questionable reputation if she would help him by giving him a drink of water.
- he borrowed a little boy’s lunch and showed the masses how far it can go when you share.
- his life ended riding a borrowed donkey, eating in a borrowed upper room, and having his body placed in a borrowed grave.
Jesus wasn’t a magician nor was He a super human; He was a very human man who knew His limitations and asked for help.
It’s ok to ask for help and admit our limitations. It may be hard but it can also be a holy practice involving self-examination, reflection and listening for the Divine. It helps build community, create bonds, generate energy and excitement and commitment. Knowing one’s limitations helps establish boundaries and expectations. It means sometimes saying YES and sometimes (maybe even more times) saying NO, making room for the Divine.
Receiving help is different. It involves humility and graciousness. It means letting go of controlling the outcome and embracing the camaraderie of friends. It means rejoicing in collaboration and the coming together of ideas, hopes and dreams. It’s an idea that gets mentioned now and then in church, but could be lived into more.
If Jesus can do it, so can I, and so can you. It might make us a little more human … and even a little more humane.
Grace & Peace,