Taking Jesus on an Hour Vacation in the World
In her writings, Cora Evans describes a vision in which Jesus asked her to take Him on “an hour vacation in the modern world.” What an interesting and challenging concept. What would it be like to see the world through Christ’s eyes, to act as he would act, and truly think with the mind of Christ as we go through an hour of our daily life?
Jesus said, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) This has always been one of my favorite verses of scripture. I have sometimes seen or heard it translated “that they might have life and have it to the full.”
Standing beside Jesus makes everything come alive around us. So taking him on an hour vacation transforms our experiences. Therefore, let’s take a look at how it changes each of our five senses and the way we experience the world around us. Additionally, I have provided a scripture verse that you can reflect on throughout the week to further consider each of the five senses.
Last Sunday, our priest made a statement in his homily that really struck me. He said that the body always follows our sight. Therefore, we must strive to put our eyes on the things of God. Oh how Jesus sees what I do not see! Looking at passersby through the eyes of Jesus, I see not the image they project. Behind the distraction and noise, I see the pains and sufferings that we all experience and try to mask each day. This moves me to compassion. The world needs healing. Loneliness abounds where relationships are lived superficially through the internet. In so many ways, we are anonymous to one another. I barely know my neighbors. Standing beside Jesus, I see acutely that we are made for relationship.
“Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. (Mark 10:46-52)
The power of words is immense. When I take Jesus into the world, I see the way my words need to change. I need to be less harsh and less critical with my children. I can see how words can either build up or deflate the soul of another. I also hear no complaints from the mouth of Jesus. He accepts the highs and the lows as from the hand of God. His peace is not disturbed. Oh, how much I can learn.
“Though harshly treated, he submitted and did not open his mouth; Like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep silent before shearers, he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)
Touch is an opportunity for relationship. A mere handshake becomes an exchange of friendship. A sign that one can be trusted. A hug for my children and spouse are a sign of love. It can be felt in the warmth of skin pressed against skin. A kiss is a sign of intimacy.
“There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” (Mark 5:25-34)
I don’t know if it is true, but I was once told that Pope John Paul II always said that his favorite food was whatever is set before him. I imagine that this is Jesus’s attitude toward food. Approaching a meal in this way increases my gratitude. I am thankful for the nourishment. I am thankful for the effort of the person who prepared the meal. I am thankful for the time spent together with friends and family as we eat. Oh how different the world is when we approach it with gratitude.
“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the stalwart one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:9)
Imagine a meal without the fragrance of food. How much depth and enjoyment would be lost. Our sense of smell confirms the richness of the world around us. Interestingly, smell seems to be a particularly powerful sense before God. The book of Leviticus routinely speaks of burnt offerings providing an “aroma” pleasing to the Lord.
“Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and choosing from every clean animal and every clean bird, he offered burnt offerings on the altar. When the LORD smelled the sweet odor, the LORD said to himself: Never again will I curse the ground because of human beings…” (Genesis 8:20-21)
The idea of taking Jesus on "vacation" into the world reminds me of the famous prayer of St. Patrick. So I challenge you to go forward in the footsteps of St. Patrick with the following prayer upon your lips:
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
(adapted from here)