Ah, the holiday season is upon us, a time when Mother Nature draws us inward and Mother Culture draws us shopping.
A close friend of mine has a birthday celebrated worldwide this time of year, though he was really born in July. He is pretty famous, although he doesn’t really want all the attention he gets. He has been a regular in the supermarket tabloids for over two thousand years, way before supermarkets were invented. I’ve noticed, like with many celebrities, people make him out to be larger than life. They put him on a pedestal, somehow hoping that his life can save theirs, and like to fixate over the minute details of what he said and did. After he graduated from the lifetime of his that got the most press, people laid the name Jesus on him, but his friends from the old neighborhood called him Jeshua. Still do. Me too.
Jeshua, like all of us, is a stage actor that has played countless roles over countless lifetimes.
His most popular role has been Prince of Peace, Savior of the World. After retiring/ascending from show business in a glorious spectacle of emotion, he now works tirelessly behind the scenes, whispering lines to the rest of the cast. He guides his fellow performers to choose peace over drama, love over stage fright, and comedy over tragedy. He nudges us, when we finally become willing to listen to a Director other than our egos, to step into our appointed roles and play our parts to the max.
Jeshua does not appreciate the Academy of Christianity giving him the Oscar year after year for Best Savior. He would much rather share the statue with Buddha, Oprah, Robin Williams, me and you. And he would rather not have so much fuss made over him.
In a recent and rare appearance on The Tonight Show, Jeshua had this to say: “Jimmy, thanks so much for having me as a guest so I can give the world a Peace of my mind. That’s all I want, really. I certainly don’t want to be followed. I get paranoid when I think I’m being followed. And I didn’t ask for all these religions to spring up and make such a big deal of it all. I actually was not a big fan of religion in my time. And my time is still now.
I’m basically a down-to-earth kind of guy. In fact, I came down to earth to spread joy! Just like everyone, I’ve had a few moments here and there on the cross, but I’ve laughed far more that I’ve suffered. Please tell those churches to take all those pictures of me off their walls. How would you like it if they framed you having a horrendous hair day and decided that was the image the world should remember you by? Oh, and another thing: if people want to celebrate my birthday, I’d like to see them giving each other more presence! Simply being present to each other is the greatest gift you can give. Slow down, ease up on the material madness and get into the spirit of the holidays. And for Christ’s sake lighten up! Life is too eternal to be taken seriously!”
Thrilled that Jeshua was speaking so freely, Jimmy encouraged him to continue. Jeshua got excited, “People think of me as not having political ties, but actually I’m quite politically active. I’m pro-choice, pro life, and anti-right. That’s right, anti-right! I want people, all people, to give up this business of caring about who is right. And another thing…” At that point Jimmy had to interrupt and break for some commercials.
When they got back on the air Jeshua asked if he could have a minute for his own commercial. A phone number flashed across the screen and Jeshua explained that this was his new number, a modern way for humanity to call him up and fire away a question, concern or prayer. Mastering the art of multi-tasking, he answers over ten billion calls and texts at the same time. Explaining further, he said, “Traditional churches lead people to believe that to be close to me you have to pay money and have exclusive membership in their club. I want everyone to know it’s easier than you think. In fact, it’s what you think that makes it hard! Just try this: close your eyes, take some breaths, get quiet inside, and phone home. I’ll be there. But you’ve got to believe that you are lovable and capable of having a connection with me, just the way you are. Otherwise, there will be too much static on your end, and there will appear to be a receiver off the hook. If that happens, remind yourself you are worthy of receiving, and repeat the call. If you ever get a busy signal, you are the one that’s too busy. As I’ve said once or twice before, I am with you always. And I can afford to keep my promises. I’m not running for anything!”
Scott Grace chats with Jeshua on a daily basis. He would like to appear on The Tonight Show someday, but for now appears at www.scottsongs.com