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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Scandalous

Updated: May 25, 2022





After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

Luke 8:1-3

My Bible includes this paragraph in “The Parable of the Sower.” Which might explain why I’ve not really given this bit of information much thought until now. But this week, this reading, I find myself wondering if author Luke might be holding out on a bit more Story.

Anyway…

2020 has been my year of rereading Gospels, and getting to know Jesus in an unprecedented way. In fact, I would go so far as to say, someday future, when I look back on this year, I’m sure I will remember the virus and the riots and the presidential election. And hopefully I’ll remember it was the year my grandson was born, and the year of significant milestones for each of my young adult sons. And oh yeah… it will also be the year we built a house. Goodness. It’s been a year. And it’s not over.

But. I say this without hesitation. Seriously. Like two scandalous verses tucked away in a well-read Gospel, the thing that has most defined this year for me, has been something completely unexpected.

I first mentioned it here. And granted, this was pre-2020. Which is to say, the tide was turning a few months in advance of the real tsunami. Because, let’s admit it, we all thought this would be the year of Perfect Vision, when in reality none of us, including me, envisioned any of this. But. Here HE was. Already. READY.

Nils said it, too, this past Sunday, hanging over the edge of his hammock at the lake. His dad and me, and our middle-ish son, home for a long weekend. Talking current events and politics, and after a bit my boy spoke his mind, and meant it. “Choosing sides is too stressful, and the only way to find peace is Jesus.” And then he said this, too. When you’re following Jesus, this side of heaven, and you’ve got forever to follow him, too—you don’t have to worry. Because when you’re twenty-one and you’ve (God willing) got a good long life before you, you need to have a hopeful vision.

And. Weirdly. 2020 has been, for me, a year of laser focus. My year of losing sight, or letting go, of all things peripheral, and seeing. Only. Jesus. Because He is literally all that matters.

Jesus didn’t choose sides, but he did choose some interesting followers. Women, formerly demon-possessed, now a substantial following, supporting the men from their own means. Isn’t this how you’d read it? Scandalous, at best. And I do not mention it here to be shocking. I only mean to make a point. The Way of Jesus rarely follows the expected path.

My heart is grieved at the division I’ve seen among followers of Jesus in our current time. We are on this side of the issue, or that. We are for this political party or that one. We believe this theory, or the other. And I wonder. WWJD? Throw-back to an old acronym. My guess? Jesus would do something completely OTHER.

Jesus would bring peace in the midst of the storm.

Jesus would bring healing where there is hurt and sickness.

Jesus would welcome the least expected.

Jesus would lay down his life when he didn’t have to.

And when our priority is following Jesus, we do the things Jesus would do, and we love the way Jesus would love.

Which, as it turns out, is usually a bit of a scandal.

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