One of my favorite stories of all time is "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis. First of all, it's C.S. Lewis, and second it's just a great story about humanity; creation, brokenness, sacrifice, salvation, and just an all around great show of the battle between good and evil.
One of my favorite lines in the movie comes pretty early on when Susan, one of the main characters, if having a conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver about Aslan, who is the Christ-figure in the story.
Mr. Beaver says, "Aslan is a lion, THE lion, the great Lion."
"Ooh," said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."
"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver..."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't save. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."
Over the last 8 months, we have been worried about "safe." Are we safe from the Corona Virus? Are our jobs safe? Our livelihoods? Our kids as the return to school? Safe is a word that we often equate with the word Good.
If I am safe, then all is well, because it's not bad.
But think about this for a second; does "Good" always mean "safe?"
Have you ever thought about what Jesus might have looked like? Do you have a picture in your mind about Jesus? I think for so long, in my mind, his robe always seemed to be nicely pressed, and he had a colorful sash that draped over his shoulder. He has fair skin, and blue eyes, and his hair and beard were neatly trimmed.
Where on God's green earth did that imagery come from?
If you want my honest opinion, it's because that is the "safe" Jesus. That's the Jesus who looks kingly. That's the Jesus who speaks in a mild and meek manner, never gets frustrated, and always as something beautiful to say in the right moments.
But that is not the real Jesus. That is the Jesus made in our image.
There are many times in Scripture where Jesus bucks this "traditional" imagery of Jesus. You know what I mean...you've all seen the picture hanging somewhere in your churches.
Do you think that version of Jesus would use the phrase, "YOU BROOD OF VIPERS! YOU SNAKES!" No...I didn't think so.
In John 2: 13-22, we read the story about where Jesus cleanses the temple.
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, "Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!"
Wow, Jesus. Get yourself together.
...am I right?
No. I am not.
For anyone who reads this blog post, I want you to seriously take note of what is going on in the world. Take note of what is going on in our churches. For so long, our churches have forgotten that we have been given access to a terrifying and wonderful power. We have been given God's Holy Spirit, and for those of us who receive it, we have often squandered it out of fear of being labeled "unsafe."
Just because something is "unsafe," that doesn't mean it isn't "good."
It is time for our churches to reclaim the Spirit that was once given to us. It is time for us to return back to being a church who not only hope and rely on miracles, but expects them. It is time for us as a church to stop being afraid of the unsafe, and put our full trust in God; not just for our salvation, but for our protection and provision.
Let us Pray
We give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! We shout, "his steadfast love endures forever!"
God of us all, help us to reclaim the power that you desire to give us. Help us to be the church in the midst of the chaos of this world, to remember that you may not be "safe," but that you surely are "good!" Forgive us in our weakness, help us to return to our position of strength, not for our glory, but for yours and yours alone. Help us to witness to your power in this world.
In Jesus' STRONG name we pray!