Sometimes Christians look unbelievably weird.
Like, for four days last week we soaked up the most incredible conference at our church. But if there were people there who’d decided long ago to un-follow Jesus on all His platforms, they must’ve thought we were properly odd.
Because there was very loud music and very loud singing to a great Someone we can’t see. There was crying and hugging and praying and *free stuff* and phenomenal – idiosyncratic – (weird) – speakers who held the rapt attention of thousands.
It was kind of like Wimbledon. You pretty much had to sleep on the pavement the night before to get a seat. And you needed to be au fait with Christian conference survival techniques.
Like, if someone offers you a breath mint, take it. Because maybe the atmosphere around you is not just the Holy Spirit. It’s garlic.
Also, choose seats strategically so you can stand clear of the arm-raisers who spread wide in worship with closed eyes. They can’t see how they’re blocking your face with their fervour. The struggle is real.
It must also seem weird to non-Jesus followers how we immediately trust total strangers. Like, we hosted folks who came all the way from Zimbabwe to be part of this long loud intense celebration of weirdness. We met them when they arrived at our gate at 23h45 last Wednesday. (Correction. My husband met them. I slept.) We gave them keys and a car and our fridge contents for five nights and we may as well have known them for years. We trusted them, and they trusted us, because we trust the same Jesus – and He is trustworthy.
Things just don’t work like that in the world.
For me, that stuff is over-and-over proof that God is at work unceasingly unflaggingly unremittingly all over the world all the time and He. Will. Build. His. Church.
And yet you may still think the whole Jesus vibe is outdated and unrealistic. You reckon that, amongst humans in general, Christians are weak. Pathetic. Gullible.
They need a crutch.
I’d love to submit to you – with all respect for your position – which I know you’ve thought about – and for which there is unfortunately some evidence –
I’d love to submit to you that I need much more than a crutch. And so do you.
I sometimes think life’s like scaling a cliff. There’s sheer rock above you and a drop to nothingness below you. You’re hanging on for dear freakin’ life. Desperate, white-knuckle stuff. You’ve managed to wedge your fingers into precarious grips but it’s all you can do not to let go – never mind actually climb.
You can hold on like that for a while, but not forever. Eventually you won’t be able to hold on anymore. You’ll let go. And the fall isn’t pretty.
Now imagine someone winches their way down the cliff face from the top, and helps you into a harness.
Suddenly you can let go and just hang from the ropes. Such absurd freedom…
And just hanging there is cool.
For a while.
But once there’s blood flow back to your fingers you’ll want to start climbing – because now you actually can.
You can climb with strategy and precision and intention. You can choose your grips wisely and carefully. You can climb fast and free – higher and higher – because you’re not holding your own weight anymore. There’s Someone to catch you when – not if – you fall.
I guess today I just want to reach out to you to say:
I’m sorry us Jesus-people sometimes seem weird.
I’m sorry you think we need a crutch.
I hope you can see that a crutch wouldn’t get us far.
We need the all-encompassing, life-encircling power of the gospel to hold us and harness us everyday forever, for free.
You need it too. It’s yours for the taking.
. . .
Happy weekend, lovely people.
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