I was listening to Justin Trudeau’s swearing in ceremony on the radio last week, and I couldn’t help but chuckle. As they waited for Trudeau to step out onto the lawn and wave to the crowds of people gathered there, the commentators were saying things like: “well, we have to look at the son in relation to the father. The father influenced the son, but the son is not the father.” Then suddenly, some members of Trudeau’s staff appeared on the lawn with great big baskets of snacks to distribute to the hungry crowds. It was like the miracle of the loaves and fishes played out on the lawn in front of 24 Sussex Dr.
Is it just me, or is anyone else a little flabbergasted by the way our new prime minister is being talked about like he’s the second coming of Jesus?
And yet, when Trudeau announced that there would be gender parity in the new cabinet, when he restored the long form census and health care for refugees, I’ll admit it, I started feeling a little bit of that Messianic hope despite my best intentions not to get sucked into the 21st century version of Trudeau mania. I felt the same way when Obama was elected in 2008. I’m embarrassed to say that I was weeping joyfully in the Grebel 4th floor lounge as we watched the election results come in and ate cake.
For me I think this speaks to a deep longing I have (maybe lots of us have it) that all that is oppressive, and hateful and awful in this world will be suddenly transformed. As the days shorten, the weather gets drearier and advent approaches, this longing gets stronger.
If I had a different sort of theology, this would be the part where I warn all of us to get our act together because only Jesus is our Messiah and he’s coming again really soon to judge us.
That sort of theology doesn’t hold much truth for me any more. I believe that yearning for transformation, even yearning for the Messiah will be a beautiful and unending part of my life. But I don’t believe that I’m called to a life where I put all of my hopes in other people to solve the world’s problems while I sit around sighing and waiting for transformation to happen in spite of me.
I don’t want to fall into the trap of forgetting that I am more than what I do, but I believe that while each of us has more restful and more active periods in our lives, we can all play an important role in transforming this world to a place filled with God’s justice and love. We don’t need to wait around for Justin or Jesus to bring the changes we long to to see in our world.
My faith journey is not one of waiting for Jesus to intervene in the world in some far off time and place, but rather of noticing God at work in the world here and now and joining in where I can. That’s what Jesus’ ministry was all about. If I wait around, I’m missing the point.
So no, Justin Trudeau is not the Messiah. And while I happen to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, even Jesus isn’t going to transform the world while I sit here weeping joyfully and eating cake.