Jesus I love

(I revisit an old poem this Easter)

I love Jesus’ assault on empire and religious hypocrisy.

I believe this is called the way of the cross, and is a radical pattern for discipleship.

I believe Jesus’ beatitudes.

I believe in Jesus, his death and resurrection, through which he reveals

humankind’s devotion to violence

and God’s eternal, unchanging face of love.

I name Jesus as Lord.

No thing, no party, no club, no nation, no loyalty is higher.

Jesus is Lord.

This declaration is as much a political statement now as it was when first uttered in the days following Golgotha.


I recoil when some use the name of Jesus

to boast of personal prosperity and spiritual certainty;

to hate on others;

to embrace unrestrained consumerism and unfettered capitalism;

to continue the lie that violence is necessary for redemption;

to support militant nationalism, the building up of dividing walls and the hunting of strangers;

to excuse unlovely and unkind behaviour.

This is not the Jesus of the scriptures. Jesus is the truest sound I know, the treasure I guard the most and have turned my entire life towards in faithful obedience. Jesus has a hold on me, and with Jesus I love.


Jesus I love

Jesus I love

your radical identification with the rejected and condemned.

I love your

shameless solidarity with women –

your embrace of the excluded and outcast,

your casting out of the demons that harm and oppress.

Jesus I love

your lifting up of little ones.

I love your

compassion, freely and provocatively given;

your practice of holiness-as-mercy not holiness-as-purity.

I love your affirmation of the Kingdom of God

at large yet near,

universal yet ours,

accessible yet wild;

I love your condemnation of ‘Kingdom of God’ as

instrument of religious elitism and oppression.

Jesus I love

your unnerving habit of responding to questions with questions,

and dilemmas with stories,

and adrenaline filled threat with doodling in the dirt

and dominant paradigms with

upside down logic and paradoxical truths.

I love your teaching in parables of ‘guerrilla lorefare’,

I love how they speak of the beautifully ridiculous,

the offensively preposterous,

the simple yet complex.

As much as I understand them, I find them compelling,

so too your teaching through parabolic living.


Jesus I love

Your devotion to the one you call Abba;

your face as the face of the one who sent you;

your revealing of Abba’s steadfast love and eternal mercy in the cross;

your self-emptying and ungrasping descent into full humanity;

your will to undergo human violence, becoming the final Scapegoat;

exposing the deception of idol making and sacrifice taking.

I love   

your unnatural capacity to forgive and forgive and forgive again;

and forgive even your torturers and executioners;

I love

your utter rejection of the sword

and unrepentant embrace of militant nonviolence.

I love

your earth-affirming economics of jubilee

contra the practice of earth-destroying empire building usury;

I love

your beguiling victory over blindness and sin,

evil and injustice, violence and Death;

a victory wrought

through your own humiliation and death.

            I love

                        your Resurrection, whispered first to women announcing to all and forever:

“Goodness is stronger than evil;

“Love is stronger than hate;

“Light is stronger than darkness;

“Life is stronger than death”.

I love

your presence as the innocent forgiving Victim

and how you bring

grace not shame,

peace not retribution,

healing not condemnation,    

reconciliation not damnation.

            I embrace what I now discover: the end of simplistic binary opposites, a capacity to hold together paradox and mystery and an ever-expanding heart of love.


Jesus I love

how you have killed the separation between

slave | free,

male | female,

in | out,

disabled | abled

blessed | cursed;

and where Abba is known, the democracy of the Spirit reigns.

 I love love love your royal rule,

not as lion or eagle or bear,

but lamb;

I receive your unconditional loving embrace

your hands scarred by sacrifice ‘from the foundation of the world’,

and turn towards the other

and copy you

and imitate, as best I can your

radical hospitality

abundant generosity

dangerous peace making

unconditional embrace

extravagant grace

limitless forgiveness.

and untamable spirit


Jesus I love

how you have transformed human beings

from blind agents married to death

into wide eyed peacemaking citizens of your Peace-filled Reign,

purposed with agency, empowered by the Spirit.


I call you Lord, and follow you in the way of the cross.








The poem has been formed over years and years. Posts by Jarrod McKenna using ‘#whyiloveJesus’ was the trigger. There are three phrases that are wholly Jarrod’s:

earth-affirming economics of jubilee

empire building usury

‘guerrilla lorefare’


Other phrases:

militant nonviolence

Martin Luther King Jr and M Ghandi

forgiving victim

James Alison


Goodness is stronger than evil;

Love is stronger than hate;

Light is stronger than darkness;

Life is stronger than death.

These four lines are the gift of Desmond Tutu.