I haven't participated in the Occupy movement. That doesn't mean I'm anti-Occupy, it's just I haven't sensed God leading me in that direction. I've got a family, job, am involved in church, spend time with friends who have developmental disabilities and I have to exercise regularly because I eat delicious, unhealthy food. My cup runneth over. I haven't felt the pull to make space in my life to participate in Occupy.
Last weekend I was running (the delicious, unhealthy foods, remember?), taking in the Christmas regalia, and passed a few Occupy folks. They were gathered around the old State Capitol building, holding their signs. An older woman, seventy at least, had one with the message: Jesus Would Occupy. I've seen that before, read quite a bit around that sentiment: Jesus would occupy because of the movement's call for justice and equality. In PeaceSigns last month, we ran an interview with Duane Beck that covered much of that ground <http://peace.mennolink.org/cgi-bin/m.pl?a=905>. The message wasn't new and I've ordered my life to a great degree around the belief that Jesus calls His followers to seek peace and justice on earth.
Something about the way I saw that sign stuck in my mind. Jesus would Occupy, Jesus would Occupy, kept playing in my head. But it was background music, not terribly disturbing, so I let it play on, wondering where it would lead. Do I need to Occupy? Is God telling me something with that sign?
The following Monday, I was reading in Matthew about Jesus eating with tax collectors, the music stopped and I was left with this thought: Jesus would Occupy, but He'd also have dinner with people working on Wall Street. He can be with the Occupiers AND the CEOs, quietly illustrating to them what the Kingdom of God is like. He can be with people with developmental disabilities who seemingly do nothing in pursuit of justice (although their very presence is an insight into the Kingdom that can bring unspeakable peace). Jesus isn't bound by our expectations.
I reflected the unpredictability of Jesus. From one town to another, then back, healing people one day, giving sermons the next, withdrawing to be by himself-you couldn't pin Him down. I try though! I try to pin Jesus down and limit Him in narrow beliefs and expressions. And often I can't imagine Jesus would ever be anywhere other the structures I choose to house (contain) Him in. Thankfully, Jesus confounded all human limitations and restrictions-even death- to show us the way to God.
The lady's simple sign brings up big issues for me. Jesus would occupy, that's quite right. Jesus would occupy my relationships, my job, my prayers, my successes and failures, everything I have, if I let Him. And I do sometimes. But other times I refuse to let His unpredictable, chaotic love out of the nice, little room I built for Him. Can I accept the presence of Jesus in all my life? Can I accept the presence of Jesus in places I don't think He should be, eating with the tax collectors and financiers? I hope.
I won't be Occupying anytime soon. I think Jesus is telling me instead to rejoice in the Lord's presence among those who do, among those who work on Wall Street, and among the majority of those who do neither, but seek peace in small, quiet ways, without spotlight or luxury. Rejoice in everyone who carries in them the light of Christ.
And I'll go back to the capitol next weekend and see if that lady's there, so I can thank her for reminding me of the uncontainable love of Jesus.