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Jesus Was Also Human

It’s time. Honestly, it is so far beyond time for the admittance. I have to confess something and since it’s kind of the season for it…….here goes (dramatic pause for effect*): I am human.

Now, let’s break down the reality of what that means.

First, it means that I, though a clergy-person and called to a pretty steep standard (not by the church or the conference or my superior, but by God), am not God. God is perfect. But, ironically, even in God’s perfection, God got tired enough to take a sabbath ‘day.’ Since I’m not God, elevating me to that height will likely only bring great disappointment.

Second, it means that I am imperfect. Imperfect people get tired and when they get tired they get cranky and when they get cranky they say things they don’t mean and when they say things they don’t mean, well, they’re not God and it’s very¬†obvious.

It also means that I can’t work miracles. As much as I’d like to set goals and see every single one of them come to fruition within 24 hours of me setting them (and have all the answers concerning them), that’s not going to happen. Again, so much of that is that, though I’m a clergy-person, I am not God. I have to learn. I have to think. I have to grow. I am temporal (and young) and without all the answers.

It also means that my feelings can get hurt (though I usually just smile and try to be accommodating).

It means that my marriage hurts (breaks, falls apart, needs attention, needs counseling and doesn’t need the stigma that comes from being a clergy person who needs someone else’s help). I am human and like most humans, I need help.

It means that I hurt. I really, really do. If you cut me, I bleed. If you’re hurt, I usually hurt a bit too. If I fail I lay awake thinking about it, mourning it, and lamenting my regrets. Because I’m such an empathetic person, when I hurt I really, really hurt. When I’ve made a mistake, said something I shouldn’t have, or hurt someone else’s feelings, little bits of my heart cry and they cry until I can repent and receive forgiveness. That’s me. I’m human.

I catch myself, often, falling into the stereotype that fits clergy-people. We are perfect, flawless, happy people with perfect lives. If you ask me how I am, I say “GREAT!” even if things at home are hard or I’m feeling insecure, or I’m nervous to take the pulpit. I say, “Fine, and you!?” turning the attention away from what might seep out beyond the mask around my family, around my parishioners (who are very really my friends), and (perhaps especially) around my colleagues. I’m a clergy-person and there’s a mold.

I am “real.” I am “relevant.” I am “passionate” and that means that I have hopes and dreams and goals and when those things fall through, I get disappointed — like a human being.

In this season of Lent, I’ve asked my folks to try and focus really hard on being introspective. This is what I’ve been reminded as I look in the mirror. I am all these things and because of that, I am just as breakable as a teacher, or a doctor, or a construction worker. I am human.

On the flip-side of that reality stands this (however): Jesus, though fully divine, was also fully human. I know. I know. There’s a lot to unpack metaphysically concerning how any one thing can be fully two things but that’s just how it is with God (whether or not we can get our heads around it and, well, we can’t). Jesus slept. Jesus wept. Jesus went to the bathroom. Jesus got angry. Jesus got hungry. Jesus hurt for the world around him. Jesus doubted and even questioned his Father. In the end, when you cut him, he bled. I bet he cried. I bet he groaned in pain. I also bet that when he was raised, his heart was full of joy for knowing what had (and would be) fulfilled through him. Jesus rejoiced!

Thank God he didn’t fit the mold — some military leader who came to overthrow the Roman Empire — some political authority — some temporal savior — because in this it becomes okay, even good, that I don’t fit the mold either.

Jesus was human. I am human and that’s a really good thing. Thanks be to God.