No Chocolate Jesus for me please
By Renae Brabham
Symbolism is neutrality without the conviction of the symbol, they neither change the heart nor convince another of its validity. In other words, a chocolate Jesus.
I heard an interview from a bomb shelter/bunker in Ukraine several days ago. A mother of three small children, she is with 40 or so others. She was the mother who had to desperately find medicine for her asthmatic baby. I have thought of her every day since.
I happened to be going through the house yesterday as we were in and out and left the television on. She was being interviewed again. When asked by the interviewer what we could do to help. She said, "No food, it is not food that we need, it is life, it is our freedom."
I understood that she wasn't coming from a place of ungratefulness. Paraphrasing "Why do you ask what we need, and we tell you and then you send food instead?"
She was coming from a place of truth and frustration. Her children, many children are screaming with fear of the explosions, they clutch their mothers and beg for this war to end. Food does nothing for this, for the sickness, for the fear, for the lack of good air, lack of medicine and — there is no end in sight.
I must guard that gesture of a token gift; symbolism can be a coward’s caveat.
Does sending food make us feel better? Well, of course it does, not because we don't want to do more, but we don't have a few cases of grenades lying around to donate. So, we are sending a token, a symbol of our concern for them. Does our food, water and supply contribution help them and are they grateful? Absolutely — but I should never, ever forget — that is NOT what they asked for.
I must guard that gesture of a token gift; symbolism can be a coward’s caveat. Proclamation of a condition with no further proof that I have the said condition. Symbolism is neutrality without the conviction of the symbol, they neither change the heart nor convince another of its validity. In other words, a chocolate Jesus.
Before he was crucified Jesus told Peter that he would deny him three times before morning. More than the story of denial, I am drawn to the story of accountability and forgiveness. I am haunted by this one line in Luke 22 verse 61:
“And Jesus turned and looked straight at him.” There’s just no getting away from that! I can hang 100 cross charms around my neck, get a Jesus tattoo, take communion every single day, BUT — am I willing and ready for him to look straight at me? No, no more than Peter was.
So, where did that leave me yesterday? Still nothing but food to give. No ammo, no nothing. But I can pray. I started with a simple walk around the perimeter of our fence, and seven circles later with a very confused white dog in tow who couldn't understand who I was talking to, I felt I had given something more than that chocolate Jesus.