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Jesus Epiphany: “Get Your Ass Up There”

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No. Literally.

Wait. How did you read that headline?

Well, it’s not a direct quote, but it’s close.01192014-012-651x651

I come from a tradition where we tend to spiritualize what we read in the Bible. If the Bible talks about a woman’s wet dream (Song of Songs 5.5) we take it as some spiritual reference to her deepest emotions (Keil and Delitzsch) versus the sensual event the writer poetically described. If the writer waxes eloquent about his lover’s breasts—and the rest of her (Song of Songs 7), we look for a way the text could not possibly mean what it seems to plainly say. Because that would be too embarrassing. And this: did the writer take a break from his program of mortification of the flesh? Come, man. Get with it!

I’ve been discussing this over at The Pietist Schoolman (Sects & Sex), where the learned bloggers have schooled me on reading the passages from a “bride-mysticism” perspective

In fact, the Bible is a pretty earthy set of documents. It is full of sensual surprises right alongside descriptions and stories and accounts that soar into the heavens. That’s why it remains such interesting reading. And—you’ll likely agree—there are all sorts of ways to read things.

But in this quasi-quote from my headline, Jesus literally told his disciples to go ahead into the town and take someone’s donkey. Sort of like shoplifting only without the shop:

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them,

“Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.”

This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

“Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. (Matthew 21.1-7)

The Eastern Orthodox folks peg January 19 as Epiphany, which was a celebration of God becoming human. This notion of God becoming human is a central wonder to the entire faith.

Human as in earthy (born in a stable, after all), with sensual impulses and sweat and tears and stink.

But human. And God.

I find it hard to look away from the story–it beckons me to consider where it leads.


Image credit: DeAnn Desilets via Lenscratch

Written by kirkistan

January 19, 2014 at 9:43 am

2 Responses

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  1. Well, that was an uncomfortable read 😉


    January 19, 2014 at 10:44 am

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