Note: The video below includes profanity. If you’re in a public place, heads up.
For the last several weeks we’ve been journeying through Jesus’ beatitudes with our church. This morning I’ve been reflecting on the last couple months and as I do I find myself once again captivated by Jesus and overwhelmed by the depth and richness of his words.
In the beatitudes Jesus puts flesh and color on the resounding theme of his life: the presence and availability of the kingdom of God. Those present to hear his words no doubt found them every bit as shocking as we do.
In a culture marked by religious oppression and exclusivity, one in which things like power and financial blessing were assumed to be evidence of God’s favor, Jesus makes a shocking announcement: The kingdom of God is available to those religion has failed and the world has forgotten.
For as long as I can remember I’ve loved the work of Vincent Van Gogh. In college I had a couple of his paintings hung in my cramped little freshman dwelling – his Cafe Terrace at Night displayed prominently between Pearl Jam and Dave Matthews posters. There is just something about the rich color and deep emotive quality of his work that has always struck a deep chord in me. It wasn’t until fairly recently, however, that I learned about Vincent Van Gogh, the man. What I learned was shocking.
Right now I’m looking at mohawks, blue hair, purple hair, gray hair, weaves, flatbills, tattoos, nose rings, lip rings, suits and camou. Man, the church is beautiful.
I used to think my dad talked so much about grace because he lacked creativity. I realize now he simply knew our Creator better than I.
“I simply argue that the cross should be raised at the center of the marketplace as well as on the steeple of the church. I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on the town’s garbage heap; at a crossroad so cosmopolitan that they had to write His title in Hebrew and Latin and Greek … at the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse, and soldiers gamble. Because that is where He died. And that is what He died for. And that is what He died about. That is where churchmen ought to be and what churchmen ought to be about.” – George Macleod