Recently I read the book, “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. As you can imagine by the title, the book is satirical in nature. However, it does have a lot of depth. But I’ll get to that later. It tells the story of Jesus’ (Joshua) missing years from the Bible and tells about his training to live up to his mission as the Messiah.
WARNING!!! ACHTUNG!!! – DON’T ATTEMPT TO READ THIS BOOK IF YOU’RE FAINT OF HEART AND WOULD BE OFFENDED BY THE IDEA OF JESUS LEARNING KUNG FU FROM ONE OF THE THREE WISE MEN.
Now for a lot of people, the thought of altering the “The Greatest Story Ever Told” in any way is just wrong. All they need to know, the Bible already tells them. Jesus was born, he turned twelve, he started preaching at thirty, and then he died at 33. After that he came back for a little while, went to heaven and then promised a sequel when the audience was ready. He left us with some previews, but the story has been in production for over 2000 years and counting. But that’s not the point of this blog.
I bring this all up because what the author did was make up a story about a story that has been influencing billions of other stories for millenia–even before Jesus himself was born. Because of this one story, many lives have been made better and many lives have been destroyed. For some this story has created peace while for some its many interpretations have been cause for wars that seem to go on without end. But you know what, that’s not the point either. I’m just painting an example of how impactful stories are in our lives.
Most of us don’t think about it, but right now we’re all living a story. In our personal story we are the writer, director, producer, main character, and harshest critic. Most of the time we find our joy when the story works out the way we want it to and our disappointments come from those moments when what happens in the world doesn’t match the script in our head. Often our stories are influenced by other stories (like the one above) and when we compare them to what we consider really great stories we feel like we should be doing more with our lives.
Life–as most people live it–is a constant back and forth of trying to gain control of situations, inevitably losing control, and then trying to regain it again. There are very few of us that can accept life as it comes, living with the faith that everything is going forward in a harmonious way, whether we can see it or not. We spend so much of our time trying to make sense of our past and trying to protect ourselves from future uncertainty. There’s nothing we fear more than the Unknown. Therefore, when we see a hole in the storyline, we fill it in with whatever our minds come up with. We don’t care whether we are right or wrong. We just want to feel better for the moment even if we have to make something up. If it means someone else suffers for it then so be it. Hence our friend J getting crucified. That part of his story usually doesn’t change. Although I have heard of one where he escapes.
That’s why I try not to get too attached to other people’s stories about me–“good” or “bad”. I know if they can tell one story, they can tell another just as easily. Think Judas and Peter in the Bible. I say the Bible specifically because, if you didn’t know, there’s a story out there with Judas as Jesus’ best friend since childhood. In that one Judas is the good guy. So you see, there are many takes to this story. The most popular one just had better marketing. But you know what? None of that really matters. Again, it’s just an illustration.
The point that I am trying to get to is that we all have stories. Some of them are true and some of them are our own versions that we create because it makes us feel better temporarily. But ultimately, our attachments to these stories cause suffering primarily because we try to manipulate the story line to our own ends. In my mind I see Life as a Mystery and The Unknown is the lead character. There is peace in this acceptance. We live in a world of uncertainty. That’s why it makes sense to make friends with The Unknown. That’s faith and that’s the one message that never changes in the life of J.