I’ve met Jesus many times.
Each time he had a different face, sometimes he was short, sometimes tall. His skin tone varied and he talked with different accents. I think he may have been female at least once.
On one occasion I was present when he met himself. Happily, they both got along fine!
That’s the thing about being a mental health nurse. You get to meet Jesus every now and then.
Each time this happens, there’s an old cultural pressure to humour him whilst theorising about why he’s saying what he’s saying, to attempt to understand what’s really going on for him, and to form a plan of action about how to get him back to reality.
A common conversation amongst mental health nurses is about what would happen if the actual Jesus really did show up in hospital! How would we know? How would he be treated? What miracles might he perform that could be recognised as such and therefore lead to us questioning our disbelief?
The thing is, why does it matter? Why not simply accept his reality and treat him with the respect and honour deserving of a deity incarnate? What difference does it make?
In actual fact, in amongst the humouring, theorising, planning and acting, this has generally been what I and my colleagues have eventually settled on doing whenever meeting Jesus anyway, for as long as he’s asked us to, then when he inevitably changes we’ve adapted our language accordingly.
I think next time I meet Jesus I’ll notice a difference in myself.
I’ve increasingly let go of my need to know why he might be saying what he’s saying, to disbelieve, to theorize, to think about how to get him back to ‘reality’, to understand anything, and to conform to the old cultural pressure.
I’ve replaced these habits with an unshakeable belief in everyone’s capacity to achieve whatever they hope for, and a deep love and respect for everyone I’m honoured to meet, in harmony with a new emerging culture.
The conversation I’ll have might not be hugely different, but I have a hunch that it’ll be more direct and consistently useful, because I’ll be putting aside the barriers and maintaining the catalysts for inevitable change and adaptation.
The result may well seem miraculous!