31 May Ways of Escape – Graham Greene & Jesus
The Catholic writer Graham Greene famously summed up his life as a search for “Ways of Escape.” He said that his abundant writing and travels were simply a means to escape the panic fear, madness, and melancholia of contemporary life. Green’s life summation goes a long way in helping to explain some events found in the canonical Gospels of Jesus the Christ.
It often strikes the objective reader as odd that the future disciples drop everything on a dime when the stranger named Jesus comes walking along and says “follow me.”1 But is it really that strange? As Thoreau said, the majority of us do live lives of quiet desperation, and thus are seeking ways of escape.
Yet few of us have the intestinal fortitude of Graham Greene—the courage to fashion an escape route on our own. But if we have the opportunity to follow someone else, someone who can lead us, then the decision to break away becomes much easier. Strength in numbers, as they say. That is why cult leaders are so successful.
Jesus wasn’t a cult leader, though, no matter how much his disciples wished him to be one.2 Jesus sought to give his followers the strength to escape the chains that bound them, but once the break was clean, he wanted them to walk their own path.
Jesus Christ calls us all to be strong. Not strong for him, but rather our true selves, for the Christ in us.
- As Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew—casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. “Come and follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” The two men left their nets at once and followed him. – Matthew 4:18-20 [↩]
- On the following day great numbers of people who had come to the festival, hearing that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, took palm-branches, 13 And went out to meet him, shouting as they went: “God save Him! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord: the King of Israel!” – John 12:12-13 [↩]