Monday, January 19, 2015

[Children's Choice] alternative answers

As part of FCS' Living The Questions series, instead of a regular sermon yesterday, the pastors answered questions from the kids (questions the kids had generated in Sunday School in the preceding weeks, so the pastors had gotten to see and think about them in advance). [You can listen to the whole thing here.]

It was a lot of fun, but there were definitely a couple of questions I would have answered slightly differently -- and why have a blog if you can't use it for "what I would have said said instead"?


Why wasn't Jesus a girl? (Izzy & Carmen)

Jesus might have been a girl. All the stories we have talk about Jesus like Jesus was a boy, but sometimes someone who we think looks like a boy might actually feel like they're a girl -- or might feel like they're neither a boy or a girl.

But let's say Jesus really was a boy, just like all the stories we've heard. At the time that Jesus first showed up on earth, people listened to men a lot more than they did to women, so I think that when God decided to show up in human form, God knew that God had to look like a boy, or else people wouldn't pay much attention.

But Jesus knew that women's voices were really important. You remember the story of how Jesus got killed and then came back from the dead, what we call resurrected? Mary Magdalene was the first person who Jesus showed up to after coming back from the dead. She told all of Jesus' friends what she had found out, and they didn't believe her because they hadn't seen it for themselves, so Jesus showed up to them, too, but Mary Magdalene was the very first person who saw the resurrected Jesus, which I think is pretty special.

And there's one other piece of that story that I think is really interesting -- when Mary first saw the resurrected Jesus, she didn't recognize Jesus, she thought Jesus was the gardener! And I wonder if that's because Jesus looked different from the way Mary remembered, maybe Jesus looked like a girl!

Eventually, Jesus went away again, but we can see a little bit of Jesus in every person we encounter, even if they don't look like we would expect Jesus to look ... they might be Black, or they might be a girl, or they might use a wheelchair....

(Molly's answer started with the "people didn't listen to boys back then" and moved to the idea of Jesus coming back many times in many forms, but not in a way that I felt was particularly comprehensible -- admittedly, the whole "whatever you did to the least of these you did to me" etc. is difficult to wrap one's head around, though I parsed her as saying that Jesus came back multiple times in more of the ~literal way we tend to think about it, which was extra-weird-to-me. To her credit, she did mention a 12th-century mystic referred to Jesus as mother and sister.)


Does God know my name? (Cole)

Yes, God does know your name -- all of your names, in fact.

God knows the name your parents gave you, and all the nicknames that people call you, and all the names that you might choose for yourself in the future.

(Jeff's answer elided the fact that the name your parents gave you is not always your forever-name.)

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