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Upside-Down Religious Imagination

Ignatian Solidary Network by Beth Mueller Stewart

When I was younger, I loved experimenting with going upside-down. Wrapping my legs around the chains of a swing, I fearlessly leaned all the way back and let my hair sweep the ground. When my sister stood behind me, my brain would adjust, and her mouth was suddenly her eyes. I found this entertaining, yes. Plus when I was “wrong-side-up,” everything appeared delightfully fresh and new.

When reading the Gospels, I get the feeling that Jesus himself likes the creative, inverted way of doing things. From dining with the untouchables and sinners, dying and rising, and then first appearing to women, Jesus takes “wrong” and makes it right. As we see from the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus even upends one of the oldest laws, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and renewed it: “Love one another as I have loved you.” We love our neighbor as Jesus would love our neighbor—a step up from just the way we love ourselves.


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