You ever notice all those bumper stickers when you’re driving? I drive a little over 20 miles each way to work every day plus road trips for my job around New England and with three teenagers, two of which play sports, you tend to travel a lot. So with all that windshield time I notice a lot of bumper stickers. Some are funny, some are political, some sport a loyalty to a sports team or various brand name products, others I’ll confess are downright puzzling.
Lately I’ve been noticing more stickers that if you had to put them into a category you would pick “religious”. There are the usual suspects you see; the “coexist” one with all the various religions of the world symbols in it, the local favorite around Lewiston/Auburn “pray the Rosary”, even saw one last night that reminded you that “God is still speaking”. The one I see a lot and I still wonder at is “My boss is a Jewish Carpenter”. OK, so what’s your point? Perhaps you’re telling folks you believe in Christ or maybe you just work for Cohen’s Carpentry – I can never know for sure.
So that begs me to ask, what is the point of saying that anyway? I realize that at some level the creator of the sticker years ago thought it would be a low-key way to tell the world that you’re a follower of Christ, but is it really effective? Aside from any desire to combat feelings of anti-Semitism or xenophobia, don’t we oversimply, if not distort, the entire message and meaning of Christ with that particular choice of wording,
If you want to be technical about it – Christ was the son of a carpenter. You only find a reference to combining Jesus and carpenter once in the New Testament in Mark 6:2-3 and some translations actually use the phrase “son of the carpenter” instead of calling him one directly. You find far more instances where Jesus is called “Rabbi” or “teacher” which given his ministry and followers is more accurate. So while it may be romantic to call Jesus a carpenter, it’s not exactly accurate and I suppose a sticker proclaiming “My Boss is a Jewish Rabbi” doesn’t have that same appeal (aside from being redundant).
And don’t we limit Jesus if all we see him as is a carpenter? He deserves more than that in my opinion. Not that you can really fit “redeemer of the world, forgiver or sins and eternal life-giver (to name a just a few)” on a small sticker to be read in traffic. But shouldn’t it be that way?
“It is in Him, and through the shedding of his blood, that we have our deliverance-the forgiveness of our offences-so abundant was God’s grace.” Ephesians 1:7 (Weymouth New Testament)
The New Living Translation uses the phrasing “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” Now that’s the God I know and love. So “rich in kindness and grace” that despite whatever we have done, no matter what we are never beyond His love, forgiveness and redemption. We are never beyond His grace. We can always find unconditional love and acceptance for where we are going, not where we have been. Our past does not matter to God, he only see’s our potential.
Maybe I should make a sticker that says “My Boss is Willing to Forgive my Mistakes and Love a Seeming Hopeless Mess Like Me”.
Now that’s a boss all of us should want to work for.