At some point in our exchange, I mentioned that I did not want to hug Jesus. My wife’s head shot back and her eyes widened. Her look, some strange admixture of shock, hurt, and fear, had me concerned and perplexed for a moment.
I wondered if I had maybe misspoke and by mistake said something deeply hurtful or offensive or heretical. The room was silent, and I quietly reviewed what I had just said in my mind while we stared at each other.
Slowly, softly, and gravely, my wife stated, “You don’t really mean that.”
“Is she serious?” I thought. “Uh … yes I do.” I responded. “You know Jesus is a real man right?” I asked. “With a hairy chest any everything that goes with that?”
“A man who loves you very much” my dear wife responded. “Do you know how hurtful that would be if you didn’t hug him?”
My point was that not every “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” needed to involve images of falling into His arms and longing for His warm embrace. I’m sure that to some this is what works for some, and I am very happy for them (assuming it doesn’t get weird). But to others, this relationships is a bit less squishy and more … dutiful I guess.
Deep love does not require a relationship immersed in sentimental imagery, though it certainly can. But it can also be more rugged, a relationship resembling more a beloved Commander and His loyal soldier than two best buddies.
I doubt any have died shouting ¡Viva mi mejor amigo Jesus!, but I know of more than one shouting ¡Viva Cristo Rey!