In the world of the fairy tale, the wicked sisters are dressed as if for a Palm Beach wedding, and in the world of the Gospel it is the killjoys, the phonies, the nitpickers, the holier-than-thous, the loveless and the cheerless and irrelevant who more often than not wear the fancy clothes and go riding around in sleek little European jobs marked Pharisee, Corps Diplomatique, Legislature, Clergy. It is the ravening wolves who wear sheep’s clothing. And the good ones, the potentially good anyway, the ones who stand a chance of being saved by God because they know they don’t stand a chance of being saved by anybody else? They go around looking like the town whore, the village drunk, the crook from the I.R.S., because that is who they are…

And as for king of the kingdom himself, whoever would recognize him? He has no form or comeliness…. He smells or mortality. We have romanticize his raggedness so long that we can catch echoes only of the way it must have scandalize his time in the horrified question of the Baptist’s disciples, ‘Are you he who is to come?’ (Mt. 11:13); in Pilate’s ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ (Mt. 27:11)….

— Frederick Buechner, Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale  (New York: Harper & Row, 1977)

Advertisements