When Jesus Ran Across The Fields

When Jesus ran across the fields

It is the season of celebrating the birth of Jesus. The Jesus in whom a Greater Power emerged. This Jesus, who taught and demonstrated forgiveness and compassion. Jesus who is the foundation of a new era of civilization.

When Jesus ran across the fields

The Bible teaches of times of rejection for Jesus. I am recalling Matthew 13:53-58 (New International Version)

When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”

And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

I can imagine the poet Rumi thinking of this Bible passage when he wrote this poem, which appears in Book 3 (of 6) of the Masnavi. I am sharing the Coleman Barks translation

What Jesus Runs From

The son of Mary, Jesus, hurries up a slope
as though a wild animal were chasing him.
Someone following him asks, ‘Where are you going?
No one is after you.’ Jesus keeps on,
saying nothing, across two more fields.
‘Are you the one who says words over a dead person,
so that he wakes up?’
‘I am.’
‘Did you not make the clay birds fly?’
‘Who then could possibly cause you to run like this?’
Jesus slows his pace.

I say the Great Name over the deaf and the blind,
they are healed.
Over a stony mountainside, and it tears its mantle
down to the navel.
Over non-existence, it comes into existence.
But when I speak lovingly for hours, for days,
with those who take human warmth and mock it,
when I say the Name to them, nothing happens.
They remain rock, or turn to sand,
where no plants can grow.
Other diseases are ways for mercy to enter,
but this non-responding breeds violence
and coldness toward God.
I am fleeing from that.

As little by little air steals water, so praise
Is dried up and evaporates with foolish people
who refuse to change.
Like cold stone you sit on, a cynic steals body heat.
He doesn’t feel the sun.
Jesus wasn’t running from actual people.
He was teaching in a new way.

This poem is my Christmas gift to the lovers and followers of Jesus. When Jesus ran across the fields, I believe he hoped we would run from cold-hearted cynicism.

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