Windsor Community United Methodist Church
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Mike Turgeon "Letter to Jesus" April 17, 2011
Peace be with you.
You don't know me, but 'I've heard about you. In fact, I've followed you, more or less, for the past two years. I heard once that you had healed a little girl - a little girl who was a Roman soldier's daughter. I can't imagine why anyone would want to do that. These Roman soldiers are nothing but trouble, they make our lives miserable. What were you thinking, Jesus?
I've heard some of your stories about God's kingdom; I confess I don't much understand them yet, but I’m curious, so I’d like to hear more.
I was there that day you fed 5000 of us. I was so relieved; I didn't want to go home and eat at an empty table that night.
You seem interesting to me, especially since my life can get pretty boring sometimes. I’m just a baker, pounding out one loaf of bread after another, day after day, year after year. Anyone interesting is a breath of fresh air. That's what you've been to me.
You see, I've had some lousy breaks in this life, and I'm almost embarrassed to admit it now, but I half expected you to somehow settle some scores for me.
My mother died when I was only three. Then, a couple of years later, when my dad died, my brothers and I were the only ones left in the house. All I've ever known is work. I hear friends talk about family, and sure they complain sometimes, but I wish I even had such a thing to complain about.
It always feels to me like I’m on the outside looking in at someone else’s good luck. They feel sorry for me and the empty room I go home to. When my brothers were alive at least I had someone I could talk to.
I felt helpless when I watched them die. First Benjamin died from something we never even had a name for. Then Isaachar, he got beat up by Roman soldiers one night. He got too drunk and started making fun of them. He was so badly bruised, I tried not to look at his face. But I had to, I couldn’t abandon him. And I couldn’t change a thing.
It was while my brother, Issachar, was dying that I first heard about you. Maybe I was just so down that I'd hang my hopes on anyone, but from the moment I first saw you, I knew something had changed. Following you, anything seemed possible. Like maybe you could have healed my brother. Or if you'd been there that night he got beat up, you could have stopped it. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it, but crazy is how I feel half the time.
That day in Jerusalem, the first day of the week before Passover, that feeling I had that day when we followed you like a parade, it was then I had the most hope.
All those children singing, the shouting, the palm branches waving. It just seemed like now, finally, things were really going to change. Things were going to get better. My life was going to start making sense, my dreams - the ones that had been dead for so long - would actually come true. Everybody thought this was it, the start of something big, something good.
So what happened, Jesus? Why didn't you take our cheers and support and do something with it? You could have turned Jerusalem upside down, we were all so ready. If only you had just said the word, we would have followed you anywhere.
But you didn't. You came riding into town on a flea-bitten mule of a thing, and no sooner did we practically crown you king than you ticked off the temple big-shots with those words about the rocks crying out. I'll tell you what cries out, Jesus, my brother's blood cries out, that's what. What are you going to do about that, and about a thousand other brothers?
Then you got all in a huff and tore up the temple market. I'll admit that felt pretty good; I can't tell you how long I've resented those crooks in the courtyard. But it didn't really help anything, did it? Because you start rambling on about John's baptism; well, John is dead, where did his baptism get him? And you just kept going on and on and everybody who listens to you is either mad enough to kill you or confused enough to write you off. Don't you know any better? People tell me you might be the Messiah; well maybe you are, but you don't seem to have many people skills.
I won’t lie to you, Jesus, I'm disappointed. I thought you'd do better. I expected you to do better. I thought you might help fill this aching hole in my heart. I guess I'll just go back to my brick oven and bake my life away. I can deal with disappointment; I've been there before.
I'm angry. I don't like being angry but I don't know what else I'm supposed to feel. I've been thinking about this a lot. I'm angry, Jesus, because you leave me nowhere to stand. If I try to be as religious as possible, that's not good enough for you. If I just sell out and kiss up to the Roman soldiers -- well, I can't do that without betraying my brother. Besides, that’s just not me.
And if I join the resistance and I get killed, then what will happen to my father's name? I'm his last son. So what am I supposed to do? Sell my bakery and give everything away and join up with your disciples? I don't think so.
Why should I? Why should I take a chance on you? So far as I can tell, you're just another flash in the pan who got in over his head and now Caiaphas, the High Priest, is calling you on the carpet.
Well, good for him. Caiaphas may not be very charismatic, but at least he worked things out so people stopped stealing my merchandise and bothering my good customers. At least Caiaphas sent somebody to my brother's burial; I didn't see any of your disciples there.
Sorry this letter is getting so long. Maybe I can boil it down to just a few words. On Sunday when you came riding into town on a donkey; everybody made a big deal of what you were riding on. Well, didn't you realize that my heart was riding on you, that my hopes were riding on your shoulders? And you let me down, and my brother. You don't leave me anywhere to stand. And I'd like to know what you have to say about that. What are we supposed to do with you, Jesus? What are we going to do with you?
My name is Nathaneal and yes, I’m disappointed, and I’m wondering, “Is that all there is?”