If anyone asked me 6 months ago, ‘What is Christianity all about?’ I’d have said without hesitation: “It’s about Christ, its right there in the name!”
An entirely accurate response worked for an educational setting, however writing the ‘It's Jesus’ (IJ) resource has really challenged my readiness to answer that question so certainly – I know that sounds like an odd thing to say, but allow me to take you on my journey recently…
The brief for IJ was to tell the entire life, teachings, events and miracles of Jesus over the course of a year, so that every child hears a thorough telling of Jesus’ whole person. A worthy ambition that immediately hits a problem! There are only 39 weeks of term in a school year, and Jesus did A LOT!
As we drafted our scheme of episodes we had to make difficult decisions about which moments of Jesus to include (or not). When we had finally managed to abridge the Gospels to something that faithfully reflected the fullest person of Jesus in just 39 episodes, we realised that there was no space for anyone else! Zachariah and other individuals; gone. Most women; gone. Jews, Romans, infirm and other un-named persons; gone. Most significantly for me, Simon Peter’s entire redemption arc, gone! - an massive omission that hit me hard.
I don’t think I’d ever realised how much Simon-Peter affected my faith. Peter, the one who was so often a twit, that Jesus called, that Jesus forgave, that Jesus redeemed – I was struck by the thought that ‘actually no, Christianity isn’t about Christ at all - its about Peter!’ Is that not what Christianity is about for all of us? Being a wally, meeting Jesus and receiving his salvation!
In trying to clinically represent Jesus, we accidentally missed his whole ultimate purpose – incarnation – mingling and mixing with you and me.
More recent versions of the IJ scheme include a balanced reflection of the person of Jesus, and, importantly, the persons he changed. I have been so pleased to to able to expand my own continuing discovery of God’s love through this work, and the next time a child asks, “what is Christianity about?” I’ll answer with the namesake of our resource: ‘It’s Jesus! – the one who loves and saves me, who is he to you?’
Mike Harrowing, CEO, Spinnaker Trust Ltd
See the resources here: It's Jesus Resource