There is a hand-embroidered sign up in the lounge of our holiday cottage which says
¬ďChrist is the head of this house, the unseen guest at every meal, the silent listener to every conversation.¬Ē
Now is it just me or does that make Jesus sound a bit sinister? Head of the house, fair enough. He¬ís the son of God, so technically that would make him pretty much in charge of all the houses. Though I don¬ít suspect he goes around bragging about it. ¬ďI am the head of a cottage in Woolacombe, you know?¬Ē
He probably goes on more about being the King of the Universe, or the chosen one or the co-author of the best selling book in the world. If he ever brags about anything. Which he doesn¬ít clearly. He is modest about his achievements. He probably appreciates that someone thinks of them as the head of their house, but however good he is, he¬ís got to be thinking, ¬ďYeah, and the rest mate.¬Ē He¬ís only human.
¬ďThe unseen guest at every meal¬Ē is a bit more worrying though. It implies he¬ís hiding somewhere in the house, watching everyone eating. That¬ís a bit strange. I wouldn¬ít be able to enjoy the bounty that Jesus¬ís dad had provided, because I¬ím worrying about where Jesus is looking at us from. Is he in the heating duct? Or crouched behind the sofa? Why is he so interested in watching us eating?
Especially given that he is a guest. He¬ís been invited to eat by the owner of the house and yet he insists on doing this peculiar hiding and watching pantomime. Presumably the owner of the house has made enough food for Jesus (he is a guest after all), but Jesus doesn¬ít do the polite thing and sit down and eat it. Or ring up and say he can¬ít make it today, so maybe invite a poor child over to eat the food instead.
No, Jesus turns up for dinner, then hides and watches as the food that¬ís been cooked for him goes cold and is then thrown in the bin. I might be wrong, but I can only imagine that Jesus is laughing at this wastage. It¬ís the only way to make sense of him being there, but not making his presence known. Worse still, he knows that everyone else knows he¬ís there (there¬ís a sign up, for His sake), but presumably gets some glee out of the fact that no-one can say anything about his rudeness for fear of annoying his dad. It¬ís an abuse of power and not dissimilar to something that Nero might do.
The worst one though is ¬ďthe silent listener to every conversation¬Ē. Up to now he¬ís just looked like a bit of a prankster, abusing his position as head of the house to have a bit of fun with the people who live under his roof. Now he¬ís not only hiding and wasting food, he¬ís snooping on everything anyone says. Look, OK, that¬ís his job and it must be tough and unbelievably boring (I have enough problems listening to just one person¬ís conversation most of the time, so to listen to the inane bollocks of everyone in the world must be Hell), but it¬ís the addition of the word ¬ďsilent¬Ē that makes it a truly chilling idea. Jesus is hiding, holding his breath and listening to all the things we say.
If there was a Jesus I would like to think of him as being a happy, forgiving kind of fella, who doesn¬ít judge and occasionally does a magic trick to cheer his mates up. According to the embroidery he is some kind of malevolent Mrs Mangle like figure. There is a definite threat behind the words. It¬ís saying ¬ďJesus is in charge, he¬ís clearly slightly mental, so watch what you say or HE¬íLL GET YOU!¬Ē
He has already smited me with the worst sun-burn I¬íve ever had and I haven¬ít even said anything that bad about him in his house yet. Though maybe stealing money from my poor nephew has angered him. Or the fact that I didn¬ít bother to make him a bacon sandwich (to throw away) this morning.