Have you ever heard of the book Disorder in the Courts? It documents what people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and published by court reporters. Here are some examples.
Attorney: “What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?”
Witness: “Gucci sweats and Reeboks.”
Attorney: “What is your date of birth?”
Witness: “July 18.”
Attorney: “What year?”
Witness: “Every year.”
Attorney: “How old is your son, the one living with you?”
Witness: “Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can’t remember which.”
Attorney: “How long has he lived with you?”
Witness: “Forty-five years.”
Attorney: “All your responses must be oral, OK? What school did you go to?”
Attorney: “Can you describe the individual?”
Witness: “He was about medium height and had a beard.”
Attorney: “Was this a male or female?”
Witness: “Unless the circus was in town I’m going with male.”
Can you imagine the court reporter trying to keep his or her composure with responses to questions like these? Jesus’ ascending companions were continually amazed at Jesus’ responses to long held assumptions and beliefs. Jesus marched both the Jews and the Gentiles off their maps. He took them to heavenly responses not taught before.
People were used to human based effort and work both in their religion and lives. Jesus introduced them to an exchanged life. His message: Trade your life for God’s life. When you are weak, God is strong. God’s the hand, you’re the glove. God’s the writer, you’re the pen. When you’re at your wit’s end, you find God lives there. When you let go of what is in your hand, God will let go of what is in His hand. His responses were radical and subversive to the status quo.
While Jesus’ birth has been lost in commercialism to most, Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection (with the exception of rabbits and eggs) hasn’t. Why? ‘Christ risen’ is not very commercial. It says there is The God. It says that there is life after death when you believe in The God. Finally it says…LISTEN! If we believe that Jesus rose from the dead, what He says requires a response.
Look at Matthew, Chapter 5:3-12, in the Message Bible. Jesus surprised them, throwing out expected earthly responses with heavenly unexpected responses. He taught them to see life through the Father’s eyes. Listen.
‘You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One dearest to you. You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for. You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.’”
Simply said, just like the resurrection, when God is involved, bad stuff provides the building blocks of good stuff. Exchange your life and you will change your life. Listen.
Church-Community Connection is published weekly in 10 newspapers all over the world. Most of these newspapers are local paid subscription newspapers. The goal of these 450 word articles is to build a bridge to the community through humor, wisdom and changing mental perceptions that the community has of the church.