Huggy Jesus

I found him, casually plopped on top of the mound of stuffed creations in a barrel at the local surplus store. If I hadn’t already guessed his identity by the shiny crimson robe, royal blue sash, long brown hair and piercing gaze, the tag made it abundantly clear. This was Jesus. And not just any Jesus. This was (drum roll please……)

>>>>>HUGGY JESUS<<<<<

Yup, you heard that large booming voice correctly. "Huggy Jesus. Ages 3 & Older. Remove all plastic tags, packaging and cards before giving this toy to a child.” (yada yada yada)

Huggy Jesus. Soft and cuddly. Easy to hold. Low maintenance. Innocuous. Portable. Controllable. Almost cute, in a stuffed-animal type way.

I, of course, had to buy him. And now, for only $4.99 plus tax, my grubby, sin-soaked hands can hold a piece of divinity whenever I want.

I don’t know about you, but the idea of putting faith into something smaller than oneself is somewhat disconcerting. Yeesh, the world is truly in trouble if I’m the one determining when, where and how God shows up (“Ooops – I thought YOU were bringing Huggy Jesus to the playground today!”). In the long run, I don’t want a God who simply fits in my pocket.

Come to think of it, when Jesus made his Inaugural Address at the start of his ministry, he didn’t sound particularly Huggy-ish either. The writer Luke records that Jesus stood up in front of the local synagogue and began reading from the time-crinkled text of Isaiah:

“I’m The One.
I’m The One bringing good news to the poor
and letting prisoners out of their jail cells.
I’m The One giving working eyes to the blind
and overturning your oppressors.
Yes, I’m The One to let you know that
the Year of Jubilee is finally here.”

And then he sat down. My guess is that you could have heard a fly doing pushups. These were no ordinary words. No, these were Kick-Butt words. His audience would have immediately recognized his revolutionary implications. They would have known the original text in Isaiah, a passage that talks about God’s justice, and how the ancient ruins are going to be rebuilt, and that those who suffer are somehow going to end up with a crown made of Beauty.

Exactly the kind of words that Huggy Jesus is too small, too predictable and too inconsequential to contain.

The following song is based on those original passages found in Luke 4 and Isaiah 61. May their promises serve as both encouragement and challenge.

Off to rescue Huggy from the dog,


© 2007, All rights reserved.
Lyrics by Lisa Venkatrathnam
Music by Kristin Wilson and Brian Turnquist
Performed by the Elim Praise Team (Beth Dischinger, lead vocals)

Who can mend the broken spirit?
Who can heal our deepest grief?
Who can break the chains of darkness
Turning doubt into belief?

Who brings rain into the desert
Resurrecting holy thirst?
Who has rolled away the tombstone
Overcoming Adam's curse?

Lord, Anointed Son of Heaven
Messenger of peace
Victor over sin's oppression
You are everything we need

Who has crushed the grip of Satan
Conquering our ancient foe?
Who's rebuilding streets of ruin
Turning ashes into hope?

Lord, Anointed Son of Heaven
Messenger of peace
Victor over sin's oppression
You are everything we need

So in everything we are
And in everything we do
We give all we have to give
'Cause there's No One But You

Lord, You raise the poor and humble
You have freed us from our past
Come with justice and with mercy
Bring Your kingdom here at last