St. James the Less Episcopal, Ashland, VA
“The Spittin' Image”
Collect: Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished. Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomever he wishes. The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.
“Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; and he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
My dad had polio when he was 9 and spent a year in hospital and at home recovering. The doctors caught it, and saved his life. In so doing, they had to cut a big hunk out of his right buttock. No one would know this being covered by his pants, but the lack of muscle back there caused him to have a slight limp. I learned to walk by watching my dad, and so I occasionally, when my guard is down people will ask me, “Are you limping?” Now it does not help that my right leg is a half an inch shorter than my left, so I already have to work at it, but the muscle memory of learning to walk like my father has never left me. My mom used to say that watching the two of us side by side was a sight, especially when I was very young. I was the spittin’ image, as the phrase goes.
So if you see me after the second service, between answering 20 questions on my way to Coffee Hour, you may notice me favoring my right leg. Now you know why, and you can just not worry. It’s not going to get better. When I am not tired I compensate, but when I go back to the unpolished, natural state, I walk like my dad did. Limp and all.
Jesus walked like his father, too. His father in heaven, that is. He so resembled the Father that people began to see the likeness. I do not believe that was accidental.
Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.”To use a modern phrase, Jesus was God’s Mini-Me. I was my dad’s. It touches my heart around here when I see family generations, and I notice the same sly grin, the tone of the laugh, the twinkle of an eye that goes from generation to generation down the line.
Jesus not only walked like God would have on the earth, he calls, encourages, and enables us to walk the walk and talk the talk, just like he did.
Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.We are to be the Spittin’ Image of Christ. But here and now, and in the world to come.
The first followers were made fun of for it, and in Antioch, the believers in Jesus’ Way of following God were derided with the name “Christian.” That means “little Christs.” Little Messiahs. Mini-Jesuses. It was telling.
At Wilbur Lawrence’s funeral it was neat to see the Lawrence finger that got passed down. And I will see if one of my kids or grandkids one day FAR OFF will have the Higgins limp. But my prayer for each and everyone of us, is that when people see us they see a little bit of Jesus, a loving sense that we are like the one who made, shaped, us, saved us, and guides us. Amen.