CNN wants to tell you five interesting things about him, so head over there if you’d like to read up on him. I didn’t. I guess it’s because I feel apathetic to the whole event. I don’t know from whence this apathy comes, but I feel it. Or rather, don’t feel… you know what I mean.
The pomp and pageantry of this whole thing just, I don’t know. I can’t wrap my head around how I feel about it. Since I’m not Catholic, and see many of their beliefs as major stumbling blocks to Christianity, the first thing I want to do is criticize. I want to point the finger and talk about how many things are wrong with, well, most of Catholicism, not to mention this whole Pope business.
But I’m resisting that. One, because Christianity is perceived by the lost as divided enough already. And two, I just don’t think that’s what Jesus would do.
So what to do? What to say?
I’ll say that I am in awe of the masses of people who gathered to catch a glimpse of the new man in white. Those crowds make me wonder, what need does the Pope fulfill for them so much that they will gather in the hundreds (maybe thousands) just for a glimpse. I even heard some folks in South America were going to buy tickets and travel to Rome just for the event. Pope Francis (the new guy) advised them against it, and suggested donating that money to serve the poor. I wonder how many took his advice.
Perhaps it is that the Pope gives us some visual representation of God. Perhaps we desire something visual, something we can touch, some authority we can visually cite. The Pope is certainly that to many people. Or perhaps he is just the sort of idol we feel okay to worship.
I don’t know.
Or perhaps, the willingness of so large a crowd to gather says something about what people really want from us Christians. Hope. Perhaps crowning a new Pope permits us to wallow around in the mud of hope, for just a little while. Maybe it says that there are more people who are looking for real truth and answers to the world’s issues, and looking for it from “Christians” no less.
If we believe that is the case, then we can be encouraged by the world’s curiosity. Sure, the event and occasion may not be ordained by God in the way we think, but it is certainly something God and his people can use. If nothing else, it can springboard a conversation about Christianity, and society’s expectations from it. What do they expect from this Pope? What would they like to see him use his influence to affect, and what does the Bible say about those things? What does Jesus say about those things?
I asked a question in a class a bit ago about God and his control. I’m on record as a believer in free will, and thus a God who has decided not to engage in the full control over our lives in the way his power allows him. And because of that, many things happen that God would rather not happen. Thus, the question I asked was about how God seems to be great at, as the saying goes, “making lemonade out of our lemons.”
I guess it’s time for more divine lemonade… and just in time for the summer.
What’s your feelings about the new Pope festivities?