What car would Jesus drive?
As a child I would lie awake in bed and listen to the cars as they made their way up Landscape Park in Churchtown. From the sound of the engine I was able to distinguish between a VW and a Ford, between a Renault and an Austin. Cars in the early fifties were different from each other.
I lost interest in cars a few years ago when they all looked and sounded the same. The only difference between cars was a price and a badge. Just as all trainers in the world are made in the same sweat shop in the Far East only to be distinguished by expensive marketing logos it seemed that all cars were made in the same factory only to be given badges when they arrived to the car dealer.
My interest was rekindled in recent days as I jealously watched four wheel drive and all wheel drive SUV’s purr past the rest of us mortals condemned to spend an eternity slithering up and down Newtownpark Avenue. I had always hated SUV’s on the basis they were ugly, they ran over young children without even seeing them, they nudged up at roundabouts and your couldn’t see past them, they encouraged in many drivers a sense of superiority, they were not fuel efficient, they were the equivalent of bringing your house on your back, and a few more... While all of these things may be generally true, I did feel a little stirring in the heart as they majestically trundled over snow, slush and ice.
A neighbour of ours, who hardly ever drives, was seen arriving and disappearing in a real SUV – a Land Rover – every ten minutes – or so it seemed.
And then Christmas arrived. Our first white Christmas – ever. Unless you were born pre 1947 in Ireland, you never had experienced the Bing Crosby heaven of a Christmas card scene. I drove down to our Friends Christmas Meeting. All nine of us arrived at 9.30 to see the caretaker emerge from an igloo he had built in front of the Meeting House. He and his wife had spent the night in a comfortable zero degrees while outside it was minus 6. Even at 9.30 in the morning it was registering minus 4.
On the way back from the service to a sleeping Murray household I spotted a big Volvo XC90 awd (all wheel drive) and wondered if it had not been remiss of me in our thirteen Volvos to have not at least considered one of these mountainous cars. And then, being Christmas, my thought moved to Jesus. What car would he have driven?
I felt I could immediately discount the Rolls Royce and the Maybach. He might have travelled in a Merc or BMW though. The priests would not have approved. But then Jesus had a habit of enjoying a cup of tea or a glass of wine with whomsoever he wished. But I cannot see him owning one. Would he have been more comfortable owning a Fiat Punto or VW Polo? I mused. After all Jesus did a fair bit of travelling. The Holy Land tourist agency would have been thrilled with him. So indeed would the bed and breakfasts and rural hotels, except of course when he spoiled it all by multiplying the loaves and the fishes. All in all though, he was good for travel and tourism generally.
Would he have chosen, like me, a nice safe Volvo? After all Volvo have been leaders in the field of safety and fuel efficient cars for over fifty years. Maybe a second hand Volvo Estate with three rows of seats that would have fitted the disciples as they moved from town to town? You can imagine the kind of Volvo I mean. It is about twenty years old and the tailgate has stickers from National Parks and Glastonbury, from Maynooth University and from Greenpeace.
Over the Christmas I travelled the galaxy of cars in my mind and came to the conclusion that Jesus was probably a public transport person. After all that!!
I can imagine him in scarf and heavy coat waiting for the 46A bus to arrive. He knows the bus conductor by name. His apostles half fill the bus. They will take the bus into town and the train to Cork to meet some Gentiles who live in the Southern part of Ireland.
I think Jesus would use public transport because it is more democratic. Cars insulate us and emphasize our individuality and separateness. Public transport would be the first choice of Jesus. Will someone else make the same discovery as me and rename their bus or train fleet?
As I look out the window, the rain has replaced the snow. That is progress. Next year I predict the hit single at the end of the year will be, I ‘I’m praying for a green Christmas’...