[Watch Pixar's Boundin' short--it's before The Incredibles or somewhere on the interwebs.]
That jackelope, my friends, is Jesus. Not that Pixar is a Christian filmmaking company being stealthy about putting Jesus in front of millions if theatre-goers...As far as I know, they’re not. No, the jackelope’s essence is that of Jesus—he sees the miserable sheep and stops, mid bound, to see what can be done.
Think of the children that the disciples wouldn't let near Jesus or the blind man they told to keep quiet—for all of whom Jesus stopped, mid-bound, as it were, to see what could be done. And, while Jesus doesn’t speak in rhyme, as far as we know, he did speak wisely and apocalyptically.
Now, let me break that down for you. We assume that "apocalypse" means the end if the world in fire with a beast and signs and blood and just weirdness happening, right? Think a surface reading of Revelation.
Or of a Hieronymous Bosch painting.
And we make “apocalypse” synonymous with “rapture” and “eschaton” (fancy word for the time of the end).
That would be wrong.
Apocalypse certainly looks like that stuff to start with, like the reading from Luke today: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,” he says, “and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.” But if we stop there, we miss the point. Apocalypse is literally “uncovering” or “revealing,” It’s a drawing back of the curtain--think of The Wizard of Oz and Toto revealing the dude behind the curtain.
Apocalypse is poetry written to oppressed people to give them hope that a better day is coming and even that that better day could be here now, if we just see differently. And it is a change, a change of perception and of life. Things aren't as they seem, God’s hand is in the mix, and we can live into that revealed world. Jesus talked about this all the time. It was his primary message. Sometimes he spoke in the poetry of apocalypse and sometimes he spoke about it more straightforwardly.
And that is exactly what the jackelope did. The sheep was lost in the misery of his nekkidness,
the jackelope stopped,
really saw what the story was, and revealed a different way to look at it.
Instead if his nekkidness being a shame, it was an opportunity for bounding. Fun! Delight! Silliness! The Jesus jackelope called the sheep into a new, deeper life of bounding in love. So too, in his letter to the folks in Thessalonika, Paul tells us to respond to God’s call to abound in love. (See what I did there?)
What does that mean, though, to “abound in love”? I suppose a true but snarky answer would be “everything Jesus says in the Gospels." Abounding in love means that your default setting is love, is patience, is understanding, is care and concern for others rather than ourselves. Abounding in love means we don’t just give ourselves and our stuff away
once a year at the holidays, but every moment of every day. Abounding in love means knowing in the front of our brains
that we are loved so deeply by God that God became human and moved in next door to us. Abounding in love means knowing in the pit of our stomachs that our new next door neighbor knows what we’re doing behind closed doors
and loves us anyway. All of this learning to abound in love is an apocalypse. It is an uncovering of our “made in the image of God” natures and of our own nekkidness, our sin and our shame. It is a revealing of what we were made for in the first place. Rather than stewing in our own nekkidness and misery like the sheep, Jesus comes bounding in and teaches us to see in a new way.
This new Advent season is time to get excited about lil baby Jesus, but it’s also time to prepare for the discomfort of wise, incisive adult Jesus who will help us change the world if we just let him in. His presence with us, Emmanuel,
wonderful counselor, mighty god, everlasting father, prince of peace, holy jackelope, is an apocalypse. Jesus reveals to us...love. Which is Fun! Delight! Silliness! And which also draws us out of ourselves and shows us the world and God’s presence in every bit of it. In a way, this baby that are preparing for is the end of the world. Or the end of the world we’ve become accustomed to.
We all have a story one of being the oppressor, one of being the oppressed, one of being the lover, one of being the loved. We all need apocalypse one where God stops, really sees what the story is, and reveals a different way to look at it. This is what Advent is about. Welcome to the end of the world.