Sermons, Songs, Stories... I went looking for a bit of Silliness to wrap up the week, because it started with S, but I didn't find any... I did, however, stumble across an excellent cartoon on one of my favorite sites - The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus - that made me laugh - and then think... rather seriously, actually. So this isn't Silliness at all, but actually Great Seriousness; here it is, and HT: to Jon Birch at ASBO Jesus for both his talent and his ability to start and sustain a remarkable diversity of conversation on a number of topics, all with one cartoon. (I learned a few things about fishing today.) :)
If you get a chance, follow that link and read some of the discussion. You, too, can learn a few things about fishing - but it was comment 34 that really got me thinking. There's a very real sense in which becoming a Christian is about as dangerous to you as going after that bait is to a fish. I'm not sure Jesus' disciples could have been gardeners... the fishing thing seems a pretty intentional metaphor. But that is hindsight... we know that portion of the plan, because it already happened.
I remember telling a mentor once when I was in high school, about a year or so after I'd become a Christian, that if I'd known how hard this was going to be, I might have considered not signing up. But even then, the truth is, I wouldn't have chosen any other life. I couldn't - not and have life! This chasing Jesus thing - it's the only way, and if you're reading this and doubt that, let's talk - but what I am saying is that this road is not easy, and Jesus wasn't kidding in anything He said. Have you read the Book?! There's some tough stuff in there. Forgiveness is hard. Trust is hard. Selling everything you own and giving it to the poor? Do we even know anyone who's chased Jesus that radically? Walking the narrow way instead of the wide way is a choice, and sometimes making that choice is hard, particularly when the narrow way has a few rocks in it that will hurt your feet, leads past sheer drops, and requires a bit of uphill trudging, and the wide way looks so nice and grassy and comfy to wander leisurely along...
Someone, who shall remain nameless unless he chooses to pop by and say, "hey, that was my brilliant quote," described it this way: "It's like, I think, 'wow, life hurts. Better get a helmet.' and God responds by putting His hand on my shoulder, looking me in the eyes and saying, "No, no helmet. Trust me." And then hits me on the head with a bat."
I feel in many ways, like I've been hit upside the head this week, and I'm still seeing stars. How is it possible for one person to feel so many things and think about so many things in such a short space of time? I'm not sure, but I'm starting to suspect that it isn't possible, and that's why I'm on such major mental overload and writing tripe instead of digging deep. Regardless, tho, I am definitely in a season of such shifting that there's a very distinct possibility the whole landscape may change rather significantly... I don't know. Hard to tell. But I am completely off-balance.
It was always one of the best and worst things about going to the park, that merry-go-round... My sister and I would take turns standing in the middle of it and see how long we could stay upright before we got dizzy, lost our balance, and fell over, reaching for the nearest set of bars to wrap our arms and legs around for dear life until the world stopped spinning. There were a few times I missed the bars altogether and went flying off into the dirt. That was unpleasant. Might explain a few things, too. :P I am hopeful, however, that this will not be one of those times. I've got some pretty good friends to catch me if it is, tho.