Luke 18:31-34

Then he took the twelve aside and said to them, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon. After they have flogged him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again.’ But they understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what he said was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

When I was eight, I told my older cousin that I was going to study law at Hillman College.

Her reply was priceless: “Boy. Hillman ain’t no real college! It was based on several historically black colleges and universities, such as Spellman and Howard. Hillman ain’t real!”

As I walked away, all I could get myself to think was, “How dare she lie on Hillman! She must’ve applied and got rejected!”

No matter if you are eight or thirty-eight, few of us readily accept the possibility that the world we bought into may not be the world as it truly exists.

As I consider this passage in Luke, I am baffled by the fact that the disciples understood “nothing” and “did not grasp” anything Jesus said about being arrested, beaten, mocked, and killed.

What was it about Jesus sharing the plain details concerning his upcoming illegal trial, struggle with police forces, and lynching that caused the disciples to collectively declare they understood nothing our Brother was trying to tell them?

How many church elders “do not understand” the Black Lives Matter Movement because their pension plans are tethered to monolithic denominations beholden to the dominating interests of the ruling white majority?

How many seminarians “do not grasp” the sacramentality of trans flesh because that is not what will move them along the ordination process?

How many of us are willing to admit that our inability to understand the hard truths of God may not be rooted in our “fidelity to the Scriptures” but, rather, in a shared un-willingness to sacrifice the false peace offered by the rulers of this present age?

How long will it take us to understand that A Different World need not be a wrong world?

 A Season of Becoming: Restoring and being restored for the transformation of the church and world

James Howard Hill Jr.

James Howard Hill, Jr. is currently a candidate for the Master of Theological Studies degree at Perkins School of Theology (Southern Methodist University). His research interests include political philosophy of religious practices and theological communities, liberation theologies, and theology and cultural studies. James currently resides in Dallas, Texas with his wife Jessica.
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