The Jesus of Liberation
Carla Sofia Vargas
Day 1: Getting to Know the Jesus of Liberation
Yo creo en vos compañero,
Cristo humano, Cristo obrero
de la muerte vencedor con el sacrificio inmenso
engendraste al hombre nuevo para la liberación.
I believe in you partner,
Brother Christ, laboring Christ,
Victor over death.
With your great sacrifice
You gave birth to the new mankind,
Made to be free.
-Nicaraguan Peasant Mass Credo, Carlos Mejía Godoy
In the church where I grew up—ironically—the life of Jesus was almost never mentioned in the sermons. For some reason the pastor usually chose some chapter of the Old Testament or some Pauline letter, then ended up talking about the love of God despite our mistakes and infidelities and how He sent his only begotten son to die for us. So in the General Assembly, the death of Jesus on the cross was the only reference made about the son of Mary and Joseph.
This felt very different from my experience in Sunday school, where children were always told about Jesus the friend of the rejected, the miracle worker, that man who loved his disciples and healed the sick. Obviously, these stories were always accompanied by a coloring activity, and it’s necessary to specify that we never colored Jesus on the cross.
So what happened that our perspective of Jesus changes as we grow and stop seeing him as more than just the Savior who came to die for us? Because if we are honest with ourselves, the redeemingand sacrificial aspect of Jesus is often the one that predominates the collective imagination of many Christians. The Jesus as a man, friend, and-yes-revolutionary is almost never the protagonist in the pulpits or circles of Church studies in Latin America …And we are missing a lot.
When one reads the story of Jesus in the Gospels, it is easy to fall in love with the life and struggle of that man who spent every second of his ministry loving the unprotected, fighting against injustice, and going against every system of oppression—moral, religious, social, and political—in his speeches, teachings and-above all-his actions. If every person is a beautiful canvas of different identities (for example I celebrate that I am a woman, a latina-mestiza, Nicaraguan, lesbian, and Christian), why don’t we think the same of Jesus? Why do we only keep one aspect of his ministry and his life? I would be very upset if the people who know me accept one of my identities and deny the rest. In my case, if you want to be my friend, you have to accept and recognize all my identities. Yes, it’s all or nothing. Because I am one hundred percent in each of them. Knowing Jesus and knowing ourselves in totality is one of the most powerful and, above all, liberating experiences we could ever experience.
If someone were to ask you who you are, how would you respond?
Do you celebrate all your identities, or are there parts of your life or history that you have not yet recognized?
How could you begin to explore or communicate those aspects that make you the person you are but not everyone knows?
Today I want to celebrate every part of my story. Jesus, help me to know you and to know me in a more intimate and complete way. Amen.