Just Like Jesus

September 20, 2018

Years ago, I wrote a book of devotions based on the wild premise of being just like [King] David. The idea struck one day when I stuck my then-young kids in front of the TV and hid with a book and a Bible in my bedroom. When I cracked open my Bible to the Psalms, these words from from Psalm 3’s “inscription” gave me pause:

“A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom.”

“I’m JUST LIKE DAVID,” I thought. “He’s hiding from Absalom. I’m hiding from my kids….”

Of course, I immediately caught how ridiculous a thought that was. For many reasons. Not the least of which being that David’s kid wanted to kill him. But still: the idea that I was ”just like David” stuck with me. After all — even though I have yet to murder anyone and I only have one spouse and not even one royal title — like David:

I am a writer.
I love animals.
I’m loved by God.

And I know what it is to praise God for God’s goodness, to lament when stuck in a “pit,” to wonder where God is, and even—I confess—to rant about those who hurt me or my family.

See, I AM just like David! Well, sort of, but this thinking has helped me as I read not only the psalms (even the ones David didn’t write!) but as I read all the Scriptures. We we realize we are “just like ______________ [fill in the Bible character]” either because we really understand them or we feel they really understand us, helps bring stories--familiar or new--to life. It gives them context and allows us to connect more intimately and enter more fully into the very real world and not-always-so-foreign people of the Bible.

This is true even with stories of Jesus. Who, let’s face it, on paper, I’m even less alike than David.

Jesus is the perfect Son of God who lived and modeled a perfect life of grace and love and inclusion before sacrificing himself for our sins.

I am and have done….well… none of those things. My life as a modern, comfortable, suburban, working, married mother could not look more different than the life of the ancient carpenter we follow.

And yet: that IS whose footsteps I am trying to follow. That IS who I’m supposed to emulate. The way I love is to look like Jesus. The way I treat others is to look like Jesus. The whole way I live is to look like Jesus. If I do this faith thing “right,” others are supposed to say, “She’s just like Jesus!”

Pretty sure I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it. I do want my modern life to reflect Jesus in as many ancient ways as possible.

And I hope you do too--especially as we as a church continue to spend time learning and practicing The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversation--which could’ve been called, Just Like Jesus…..

Caryn Rivadeneira

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