Life Notes—November 7, 2013
“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9
Lately, a series of commercials has been showing that display the odd superstitions of sports fans. Perhaps you have seen one. A group of fans line up the labels of their beer bottles at a key moment in the game. A young man claims his “lucky” seat for the game. Another refrains from washing his favorite jersey as long as his team continues to win. The key line of the commercial is “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work.”
Recently I visited with a friend about religion. He expressed doubt that he could ever accept certain religious beliefs. Our conversation led to a discussion about Christianity. Those unfamiliar with Christian beliefs and traditions must look with skepticism on some of our beliefs and practices. We pray to an unseen God. We believe a baby was born to a virgin mother to save the world. We celebrate the martyr’s death and resurrection of our Savior. We worship a God who chose to come to earth as a homeless wanderer to associate with sinners. Much of what we accept as Christians must seem very strange to non-Christians. How many people turn away because a well-intentioned Christian spoke “Christian-ese” to someone who did not grow up with it? Can we expect a seeker to be comfortable with the way-to-life-in-Christ we have spent years coming to know? I was raised a Christian and have heard the stories and practiced the traditions since I was born.
Even so, I understand how some of my core beliefs may seem as weird to an outsider as the importance of watching a football game from my lucky chair, wearing a dirty jersey with the label of my favorite beverage facing the television. Much as I long to have others experience the life-changing love and grace of Jesus Christ, I know that sort of relationship takes time to develop. I know if I am to lead another to a relationship with Christ, I must be patient and persistent. Further, I must live a life they will want to emulate. Finally, I know Christ must be experienced to become real. Just as we cannot experience love or beauty through the words of others, so we cannot talk others into a relationship with Jesus. The superstitious among us should be prepared to defend the positive impact of our rituals on the outcome of a game. Likewise, Christians should be prepared to defend the positive impact of their beliefs; to be able to articulate the hope and freedom we find in Christ. Jesus calls us to be different, not weird.
Come home to church this Sunday. After all, it’s only weird if it doesn’t work.
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator