There are as many different portrayals of Jesus as there are artists, poets, and thinkers. The theologian Jaroslav Pelikan suggests many of them in his book, Jesus Through the Centuries. There’s Jesus the rabbi, Jesus the King of kings, Jesus the monk who rules the world, Jesus the universal man, Jesus the prince of peace, Jesus the teacher of Common Sense, Jesus the poet of the spirit, Jesus the liberator. The list goes on. Suffice it to say, from the beginning, people have seen Jesus filtered through the lens of their age, their place, their location.
I have yet, however, to see anyone suggest Jesus as Alfred E. Neuman.
Perhaps you remember Alfred E. Neuman, the gap-toothed, jug-eared, freckle-faced mascot of MAD magazine (which I will confess to reading in my younger, more irreverent days). His motto was simple: “What? Me worry?”
It doesn’t sound like Jesus. Unless you read the Sermon on the Mount where we find Jesus saying outrageous things like “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink or about your body, what you will wear. Look at the birds…Consider the lilies of the field…Do not worry about tomorrow.”
You see? Jesus as Alfred E. Neuman. What? Me worry?
Of course, he was an itinerant rabbi with no mortgage, no college debt, no retirement to plan for, and no responsibilities (other than the saving the world thing). So, really what did he have to worry about?
The larger question may be what is he telling us if we wish to follow him? How do we in this “age of anxiety” free ourselves from worry? How do we in this “mad” world (pardon the pun) escape care? What does complete trust in God look like?
We’ll consider all of that this Sunday as we bring our “Refocus” series to a close with #whatmeworry. You may want to read Matthew 6:25-34 before you come – but if not, don’t worry about it. Just show up. The rest will take care of itself.
Grace and peace.