This Sunday (March 11th, 2012) we talked about "Our Daily (EPIOUSIOS) Bread". Our Gospel Lesson were two pericopies from Mark 2:13- 17 and 18-20. To illuminate Jesus' attitude to eating and feasting, we also listened to these apocryphal stories:
Three newly discovered fragments of the Manhattan Gospel of Henry Rutgers.
They said: “Just look at these snobs! Jesus and his followers only pretend to be friends of the poor people! On their own, when they think nobody is looking, they are elitists who shop in this exclusive and expensive organic stores!”
Jesus calmly replied, “You have got it completely wrong! We are determined not to buy cheep junk. We value the farmers, and the health of our planet and of ourselves. That is why we buy local and organic food, and the fair trade stuff! Our meals are more expensive, but they are not payed for by health of our planet.”
On another day, Jesus again gathered a large group of his followers and they went down to the City Hall and palaces of banks and corporations. They were loud and protested against the unfair and crooked priorities of the government. After the demonstration they sat down and ate their lunches seasoned with some pepper spray.
That is when some unfriendly onlookers commented: “No wonder you are so agitated and angry all the time if you eat this stuff! We see you are eating vegetarian risotto and chickpeas, and drinking mineral water and herbal teas! Just take look at those happy Southern Baptizers; they love hamburgers, deep fried meals and loads of corn-syrup coke! They are well fed, well shaped, and happy and thus the bible belt is still expanding its waistline.”
Jesus replied: “Don’t come to me in decade or so with a metabolic syndrome; I have other things to heal rather than sloppy eaters!”
Another time Jesus went to Alaska and visited an Inuit village. Some paparazzi caught up with him in helicopters and snapped a few pictures of him sitting at their meal and celebrating with the locals. The media were full of speculations; some accused him of being a hypocrite: "We always thought you were vegetarian, and look! Here you are eating meat with the Inuits!"
Jesus said: "Let the media be, it does not make much sense to argue with them." But when they were alone, he said to his disciples: "It's a matter of judgement and priorities. For the Inuits meat and some berries are their only food, and if they kill a seal, it feeds their whole extended family and they will use every last bit of it, and they don't throw away a single thing. They don’t kill for pleasure nor do they waste food. And being vegetarian? It is not my ideology! Friendship with the locals is what matters most.”
And then he added, “I would wear a kilt and even eat haggis and survive the bagpipe serenades, if I knew I could save at least some of those stubborn Scottish Presbyterians!”
I know, these stories are little cheeky, provocative, perhaps gently disrespectful to certain traditions or ways of life. But in this respect, they are not unlike original sitz im leben of real biblical stories (how they would be perceived/experienced by the original hearers).
And here is the gentleman after whom our church and these apocrypha are now named: