One way of looking at it

I happen to like memes, so I collect them. I’ll share one with a group of students while leading a class, often to raise a question that we will address that day, or to make a connection with our cultural moment. I text the weirder ones to a good friend.

This one struck a chord with me. There’s a lot going on here. I have no idea why Jesus is flashing the horns. But he does have a kindly gaze. He’s blasting light from his sacred heart. He even has a message: “Good morning, sinners.”

I think that’s a message many of us have internalized. It’s a dominant narrative. Jesus is up with the dawn. He’s a morning person. He rose early on the third day. He raises us up every day. He shines blinding light in our eyes. That’s who he is. He speaks. And the sound of his voice is so sweet the birds hush their singing.

We might think of ourselves foremost as sinners. Who isn’t a sinner? Who doesn’t “drop the ball?” We all mess up. We leave things undone. We commit wrongs. Sometimes we do so intentionally. Sometimes, we’re clumsy, and we break things.

We’re sinners. So every morning, we could wake up and imagine hearing this message from Jesus. But maybe there’s another way of looking at it. Maybe there are other names that might stir us awake more than our first cup of coffee, words Christ may say to us that enliven our hearts.

Hebrews 12:1-2 says:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Maybe Jesus says, “Good morning, my joy.”

And maybe then, knowing that we are the beloved of God, we cast off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and run with perseverance the race marked out for us.