When I was a kid, I used to hang out with a friend who lived with his two younger sisters, older brother, and single mom. I played at his house after school when his mom would finally get home from work. She was probably pretty exhausted, maybe stressed from rush hour traffic after work. I never really gave it much thought. But on more than a few occasions, I remember her coming in after work, slamming her coat and purse on the table and shouting, “Jesus H. Christ! What a day!”
She often prefaced her reaction to whatever we were doing around the house with, “Jesus H. Christ!” “Jesus H. Christ, Andrew, why is your bicycle in pieces on the kitchen floor?” “Jesus H. Christ, Maggie (his sister), what are you doing with that glue!?” I once overheard her talking to the Middle School principle regarding Andrew’s brother. “Jesus H. Christ, what did he do this time!?” And I remember thinking she was about the only person I knew who used Jesus’ “full name,” and she did it a lot!
She even confused his name with mine once or twice. “Isn’t it past your suppertime? What are you still doing here? Jesus H. Christ!”
One time, I asked Mom when I got home, “Mrs. Peters says Jesus’ full name a lot. You know, like when you get mad at me and say ‘Thomas Snyder McDermott’. Only what does the H in Jesus’ name stand for?”
And then pretty matter of fact, she said, “I don’t know, Tommy — maybe Henry or Harold.”
You can find some pretty interesting theories online for the answer.
But I think it means something else entirely, something I didn’t find online, but something I think we all know deep down to be true. Who is this Jesus and how does he really relate to anything that’s happening in our life today? It’s not a question we address to often these days, but one I think particularly relevant to what’s going on in our lives and our world.
So, I’d like to spend a few weeks taking an “a-typical” and curious look at this sometimes clichéd, misunderstood, celebrated, worshipped, and even denied man of history, myth, and mystery — Jesus H. Christ.
I hope you can join us this Sunday, November 4 as we celebrate All Saints’ Day and begin to explore the real meaning of Jesus’ “full name.” The band will join us with some great music from O Brother, Where Art Thou, The Head and the Heart, and Jeff Buckley.
Hope to see you Sunday!
Associate Pastor of eleven:eleven