Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Well, its here again, and in full swing as the Crescent City shuts down freely and often to go nuts catching beads, stuffed animals, cups, and medallions! Its crazy how much fun it is to catch absolutely worthless junk thrown from a moving (or stopped if the tractors break down) vehicle!
Only in New Orleans would people go so nuts over plastic beads, and be so excited about meeting complete strangers on the sidewalk as Rex gets ready to roll! Just the other day, I watched as a couple of executives had a full on conversation with an apparently homeless man… amazing… three men from apparently opposite ends of the socio-economic spectrum, sharing a pleasant afternoon talking as peers!
So what would Jesus do with a situation like that?
On one hand, it gets crazy. As Christians, should we be in the mix with the craziness? Where’s the line not to cross? I mean, there are some obvious situations that a Christian just shouldn’t be in, but what about the grey areas?
To answer this question over the years as I’ve followed Christ in various situations and cultures, I’ve deepened the question of “What would Jesus do?” (which is an excellent measuring stick, by the way), and have begun asking the very concrete, but often more difficult question of, “What did Jesus do?”
Have you thought about that lately? We have the observations of those men who followed Christ day-in and day-out with concrete accounts of what Jesus actually did in difficult, and grey, situations. The really tough thing about the answers we often find to this question is that Jesus went, and led His disciples, right into the heart of the same type of “grey” situations we struggle with today… like Mardi Gras! So just in case you might be dealing with this dilemma, I thought I’d share a few general observations I’ve noticed over the years in the behavior patterns of Jesus Christ, which we would do well to copy into our own lives, especially in times like these.
First, Christ went where lost people were… and often where He was invited to go. Have you ever wondered why the Pharisees had enough evidence on Jesus to publicly accuse Him of being a wine-bibber (Matthew 11:19 - a “drunken party-animal” in modern lingo)? Well, here’s the deal, Jesus went where lost people invited Him to be a part of their lives. Often that took Him into pretty wild, “grey” sort of situations. I doubt He would pass muster in some churches today, but Christ seems to have lived out His time here showing that holiness is not the product of outside forces, but the sustenance of walking with God.
Second, Jesus seems to have had a good time! Sure, it might be fun to invite the rabbi to a few parties as a token gesture, but speaking as a preacher, I can tell you that you don’t get invited to the fun parties unless you’re willing to have fun. This does NOT mean being willing to compromise Christian conviction or ethics. In fact, I am quite certain that you would have never, ever found Jesus drunk at a party! If He was, that would disqualify Him as the sacrifice for our sins, and since we know Jesus lived a sinless life, we can at least know that about His party-going behavior. Jesus shows us that holiness does not negate the ability to have fun… good ol’ belly-laughin, good to hang with at a party fun! Holy Fun!
And Finally, Jesus was always ready to touch someone’s life at a social occasion. How many times do we find Jesus teaching, if just for a moment, in the middle of a party when, as life relaxes around Him, someone asks, or becomes ready to hear the truth about life, death, and God? The Apostle Paul told Timothy to be ready in season and out of season (II Timothy 4:2), and this is what we see in the life and social behavior, party behavior, of Jesus Christ. That as we live out Christ and Him crucified in our lives in the power of the resurrection, we just might be asked some pretty serious questions about life, death, and Jesus, in some pretty not-serious venues.
This week, take Jesus with you fearlessly and lovingly into every situation. Let your actions, your partying, your resting, and your speaking follow His example as you catch copious and ridiculous amounts of worthless beads! Laugh deep belly laughs from a holy life of devotion. Scream out, “throw me somethin’, mistuh!”, from the depths of the beauty of salvation. Go where lost people are, where they invite you to join them, and live out your faith as you go. Have fun, and be ready… God might just choose to touch someone’s life through you this year at Carnival!
In the Peace of Christ,