“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” (Philippians 2:9-10 )
I have never been a fan of those WWJD bracelets, where the initials stand for the question, “What would Jesus do?” They seem to imply that we should answer that question at every turn and that it should then influence our actions. What would Jesus do? OK, then I will do exactly the same.
But here’s a news flash. You’re not Jesus. You come into contact with someone sick? What would Jesus do? He’d perform a miracle. Are you going to do that? You run out of wine at a wedding? What would Jesus do? He’d turn water into wine. Go ahead. And then try appearing in the sky with Moses and Elijah in the transfiguration, try casting out demons, try saving humanity through the resurrection. Does wearing that bracelet give you special powers? Good luck with that.
It seems to me that the WWJD bracelets are another symptom of individualistic Christianity, where it’s all about me. Yes, I know that many good people wear the bracelet to remind them to be kind and compassionate, to make good choices, often around issues of personal morality. But really, when you look at what Jesus actually did do, most of it is off limits to ordinary mortals.
And when he did engage in questions of personal morality, he said nothing about sexuality, just saying no to drugs, donating to National Public Radio or other pressing causes of our day. When it comes to personal morality, Jesus seems awkwardly stuck on telling us to give our money away, and not to the sellers of “What Would Jesus Do” bracelets. But other than that, most of what he does is sort of supernatural and crazy, and off limits to you and me, culminating in his suffering on the cross yet triumphing over death. In a world that says it’s all about you, WWJD is a pretty humbling thought.
I give thanks that there is a God and that it is not me. Amen.
—Reflection by Lillian Daniel, from StillSpeaking
(StillSpeaking is a daily reflection sent by email from the United Church of Christ in the U.S. You can subscribe by going to the UCC website and clicking on the Feed Your Spirit > Daily Devotional link or by clicking here.)