My Talk With Jesus
Had a talk with my friend Jesus a couple of days before his birthday. It wasn’t pleasant. He could barely stop crying.
I tried to console him. “Look how many millions of people are celebrating you, man!” I pointed out. “You’re bigger than the Beatles.”
He sniffled and wiped his mustache with the sleeve of his robe. “They don’t understand me. No one understands me!”
I shot him a you-don’t really-mean-that look. He shook his head. “OK, some people understand me. Philosophy students and so forth. But all the people I died for. It’s so painful.”
“Worse than crucifixion?” I wondered.
“Different,” Jesus said. “This is the pain of betrayal. Humanity, why has thou forsaken me?”
“Jesus, you’ve got adherents in every part of the world,” I pointed out.
“Right, but in the Number One market, the United States of America, I’m a joke. I’m a book no one reads, a story everyone’s forgotten.”
“You’re the Bible?”
“No, me. Dude, I was being metaphorical. What I mean is, I’m ignored. The citizens of America — they make me feel irrelevant. Yeah, sure, I know, a lot of you guys go to churches and you wear crosses as necklaces, and some of you even self-identify as Christians. But when it comes to following my teachings? When it comes to sanctifying my death by a well-lived life? I’ve been made a mockery.”
Jesus wept. Again.
I squelched my natural impulse to problem solve. Instead, I emulated my wife’s version of “a good listener.” I nodded and sighed and said, “That must be very hard, Jesus.”
“It is,” he said sobbing. “I’ve lost my flock.”
I started to think of examples that would prove the opposite, but before I could come up with anything, Jesus roared, “It’s so wrong!”
He shook his head vehemently. “It’s so wrong that the men — and a handful of women — who passed this new tax bill claim to be followers of my teachings. The people who want to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem… It’s wrong, Mikey.”
“I know, Jesus,” I said. He was right.
“Take care of the least among ye. Treat others as you wish to be treated. These are not difficult concepts. Or at least I thought so,” Jesus said, laughing bitterly. “The truth is, I’ve failed. Miserably. I’m a failure. I failed to teach humanity the most important lessons.”
“Oh, no, Jesus, it’s not like that,” I said, attempting consolation. “Those of us who genuinely respect your teachings understand that our Representatives and Senators are only pretending to love you. These mean-spirited pigs are phonies. History will not judge them kindly.”
“It’s not history they should be worried about,” Jesus said, his lips curling into a smile one would be tempted to describe as devilish. “It’s my Father.”