Play-ing Jesus with Play-Doh
The story found in Luke 4:13-30 is often referred to as Jesus’ rejection. After completing all his course work, being tempted by the devil, studying abroad, teaching in towns and synagogues, applying for graduation, and being “glorified by all,” Jesus had his homecoming in Nazareth. Jesus was swiftly reminded after spitting off his knowledge of Hebrew texts on the Sabbath day that you can’t just say, “Oh yeah, and all that prophetic text I just recited? That talks about the anointed one, or Messiah, and the great salvation that is to come? Yeah that’s me. I’m what you’ve been waiting for.” Needless to say, the synagogue was enraged, so they ran Jesus out of town and almost over a cliff.
Where have I been rejected? Jesus reminds us that in doing justice and in proclaiming the truth, someone somewhere will be in opposition. We will be rejected. We will be pushed so far to the edge that all we can see are angry protesters clouding our vision, pushing us further and further till we give up. Instead of giving up, swallowing his words, and going back to mindlessly reciting scripture, Jesus passes through their midst. With Halloween being right around the corner I like to think of Jesus as a ghost, passing through his former high school classmates playing tricks on them, but maybe it is safer to say he was just strong enough to push through the crowd. We don’t really know, and that’s okay.
Last Thursday night, in meditation on this scripture, we focused on three main questions:
What do you feel is rejected by your “home(s)” and/or communities?
What were some coping mechanisms or things/ways that you found comfort as a kid?
What are ways you are breaking through the “crowd” like Jesus?
In college, our homes and communities are complicated. We have our hometown, our dorm, our extracurriculars, jobs, classes, and so much more. We are a part of so many communities and we are in relationship with so many different, amazing people. Odds are someone isn’t going to agree with you. That’s life. So how do we cope? How do we break through the “crowd?”
Some of us UKirkians got to talk about these questions while molding, rolling, squishing, and shaping Play-Doh. For me, Play-Doh is calming and reminds me simply of fun times during childhood. It is soothing. It is soothing during a chaotic week filled with deadlines and expectations. I can mold a flower, dog, or a funny blob without the pressure to create a masterpiece. I can calm my nerves that show up randomly, yet can’t be shaken off and away. I can break through.
We also used the Play-Doh throughout the liturgy pictured below.