Happy Sunday Blogosphere. I for one have had a great day. I had the pleasure of hosting two fantastic couples from my church for lunch. We shared a lovely Shepherd's Pie (even if I do say so myself) and some great laughs and conversation. Some of the laughs were at my expense, as I had my usual habit of saying silly things before thinking about them. At one point, the conversation segued seamlessly from celebrity spotting, to baptism and the various chilly locations in the British Isles where we had either witnessed or experienced such spirtual submergences. I happened to say something along the lines of, "It's a bonkers thing to do really, to be voluntarily dunked into freezing water in front of loads of people." One of my guests (an older gentleman) found this terminology highly amusing and went on to elaborate into what he called my 'theology of bonkers' and offered to quote me on it the next time he has to write a sermon. I took the joke lightheartedly and told him he was welcome to, but I don't think any of us were really expecting to hear this particularly adjective making it into the preaching vernacular of our church.
Then in this evening's service we had a guest speaker, a highly engaging and enigmatic character who was sharing his story with us. He had grown up in Kenya as a fervent Muslim, he spent his college years trying to make fools of the Christians there, challenging them and even starting riots. Yet after an undeniable encounter with Jesus, he became a Christian. This was a decision that caused his family to disown him and leave him with literally no possessions except an empty suitcase. Not only that but his life became endangered and he had to flee. Yet he would not deny Jesus, he said he could not. In his description of events, at multiple points he used words to describe himself and also other Christians, such as 'fruitcake' and even (you guessed it), 'bonkers'! This certainly raised a smile with the five of us and knowing glances went across the room.
But more than that, it really struck true with me. To choose to follow Jesus really can look bonkers. You can face ridicule and be told you believe in fairy stories, you can be rejected by those you love, you can be called to significantly less comfortable situations than the ones you would choose for yourself, you may have to make sacrifices financially, in many countries today you can face arrest, torture and even murder of you profess a faith in Jesus. So why would you? Surely tradition, upbringing or habit wouldn't be enoughto stick at it when the going gets tough?
As far as I can see, there is only one answer and it's Jesus himself. He gave up everything, his home (and not just any home, he lived in Heaven!), his Dad (and not just any Dad, his was God himself!), his dignity, his position, his heavenly riches, in order to reconcile man to God. He lay everything aside for the joy of bringing all who accept into the family of God. And if that's true, then nothing is too bonkers for me, because I am totally free.
I am free from judgement because Christ has paid for my sin.
I am free from rejection because I am found in Christ.
I am free from fear because I am loved by the creator of everything.
I am free from anxiety because Jesus is my assurance.
I am free from insecurities because I know the One who made me.
Disclaimer - I am not free from trials or temptations, but I have the promise of eternity without them in Heaven, and a God who walks with me every step until then.
In short, I couldn't put it much better than the famous modern poet D. Rascal when he says:
"Some people think I'm bonkers,
But I just think I'm free,
Man I'm just living my life
There's nothing crazy about me."*
*I fully expect that song to be stuck going around and around in your head for the rest of the day now and I wholeheartedly don't apologise!