How awesome was that, eh?
You know what I’m talkin’ about – it was the day that was BOTA; the Blessing of the Animals Fest-eeee-vaaaaaaaal!
There were big cats, small cats, Big Cat Rescue; a whole heap of animal rescues, and peeps willing to look after unfortunate animals; and there were animal-related booths. It was awesome!
And Fr. Dad didn’t do too badly with the weather. It could have been a tad cooler and breezier, but then that’s only like saying his sermons could be a tad shorter and comprehendible. Do you know he recently did a gargantuan sermonization that took away 37 minutes and 37 seconds of you good peep’s lives?
You should ask me to preach. Here’s a sample:
Jesus = God = Good Guy. He tells you to follow Him, live like Him, and love like Him.
There you go. You’re welcome.
Of course, as I’ve observed, there is a whole other heap of something that goes on between knowing who Jesus is, and doing what Jesus asks. This goes by the posh name of ‘theory versus praxis’, with the word ‘praxis’ being a poshified (German) word for ‘practice’.
And yet … is what Jesus says really that difficult? Is what Jesus asking you to do really that hard?
I’m going to answer myself, because the answer to both questions obviously seems to be ‘Yes!’
I’ve pondered this for quite some time, and it seems to me that most of the problem is caused by you fearing you’re going to miss out on something if you act as Jesus asks.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Being poor, mourning, gentle (I prefer the old word – meek), hungry or thirsty for righteousness; being merciful, pure in heart, a peacemaker, and persecuted – which of those sound fun?
Nah – you peeps prefer power and wealth and prestige and glam and freedom from anything that cramps your style. So what if it causes inequality. So what if it oppresses others?
And if someone tries to persecute you, well, you’re gonna hit right back twice as hard and, as someone recently said: it won’t be pretty.
That’s the problem with God: He’s told you to live in ‘such-and-such’ a way, but it was too hard for you peeps. And that’s what you told God: “Hey God – it’s okay for You to tell us how to live, but You just don’t know what it’s like – You don’t know what we go through.”
And then along came Jesus – God in the flesh – and He blew your argument out of the water.
Because He does know what ‘it’s like’.
He lived it and – because those around Him couldn’t stand it any longer – He died it.
So when Jesus speaks, He’s isn’t just passing on some tidbits with the hope you’ll find them interesting; Jesus is telling you that He knows what you experience – indeed, He’s experienced more – but that if you want to live fully then the only way to do that is to follow Him.
From what I’ve learnt, being a Christian isn’t like buying a car – you know, you buy a car and then decide which of the options to go for and all of a sudden you’ve added thousands to the price, so you cut some of them out. Following Jesus is a whole package deal – even the bits you neither like nor want are included. Even the bits about loving others, and forgiving, and sharing, and – you know – the ‘generally being nicer than you normally would be’ part – are a requirement.
Of course, if you started living the way Jesus wants, you might find that not only is it hard, it also incurs another cost: it is very likely that other peeps – even your friends – will start having a go at you for not conforming to what they want; it is very likely that how you see society, and how society sees you will change dramatically. It is very likely that you will face lies and accusations against you.
“Being a Christian is easy”, said no one ever who took the words of Jesus seriously.
Keepin’ It Real,