By Carole Reardon
Remember some years ago when Christians of every stripe were wearing plastic bracelets stamped WWJD: What Would Jesus Do? It was a reminder for ourselves in everyday actions, to remember whose people we are. About to steal a lunch from the break-room fridge? WWJD? Cut someone off in traffic? WWJD? About to tell a lie? WWJD? And so on.
Recently, I was pondering this juxtaposition: the United States is often said to have been founded on “Christian Ideals,” yet, whenever they can’t agree (which is most of the time), our political parties have devolved into treating each other like the red-headed stepchildren at the family reunion, at best. While barreling down the Dallas North Tollway I wondered, if Jesus suddenly teleported to the passenger seat of my Jetta, and we spent some time together in this modern era, would he see his discipleship in us? What would Jesus say?
If I were to take Jesus to the grocery store, what would he say about such abundance, and what particularly would he say to me about the spoiled food I threw out of my refrigerator? What would Jesus say to me about that which I waste, every day? In a time of crisis, what would Jesus say about people fighting over toilet paper?
Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15
Would Jesus help me fold the laundry? What might Jesus say to me, as I hung clothes in the already-stuffed walk-in closet, full of items rarely, if ever, worn?
Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. Luke 12:33
What would Jesus say about all of our books and hobbies, all of our possessions?
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21
If, on Sunday, I took Jesus to a megachurch, with driving drums, lights, cameras, and a praise band in a 5,000-seat worship space, a hip young pastor stalking the stage in designer chin-stubble and designer jeans, just having disembarked his personal helicopter, what would Jesus say?
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:5-8
I begin to worry I can’t take Jesus anywhere.
But, since this is my fantasy, Jesus and I will teleport over to South Carolina, and I will take him to St. Simon and St. Jude, in Irmo. We’ll help the Resurrections group, which feeds the homeless downtown, part of a larger, ecumenical group which has been doing this for many years. If we stay for Sunday services, we’ll sit in my old area, the Pew of Misfit Episcopalians. What would Jesus say? I’m not sure, but I’ve seen the blessing of their efforts.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:14-16)
Teleporting back to Texas, we’ll visit St. Christopher’s in Fort Worth on Laundry Love day, and pass out snacks while helping homeless and struggling folks get their clothes washed. What would Jesus say?
“Love your neighbor as yourselves.” Matthew 37:39
Maybe we will help prepare sack lunches for the Parolee Lunch Program! What would Jesus say?
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2
Back home, before we have a nice Sunday dinner, we’ll stop by my next-door neighbor’s house, and I’ll tell Jesus how I was a stranger here and they welcomed me with smiles, handshakes, and offers of help, so I knew without being told they are his, God’s. What would Jesus say?
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35