the questions, observations, laments, psalms, classic anecdotes, prayers, & stories of jeremiah aja. enjoy it like a sweaty plastic cup filled with strawberry lemonade & crushed ice.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

rhinos, pricetags, and the church

Another piece from last semester that got a Christmas vote to throw up on the blog – 500 (or a longwinded 513) words about the church as counter-cultural agent in the world. May it ruin you as it is still ruining me for what lies ahead…

A price tag hangs from every man, woman, and child. It reads priceless. We escape the womb, or rather, even before we escape the womb, we adorn these nine letters. We are not the mishaps from the sludge of nitrogen and carbon molecules which once drifted through the black velvet of space. The orphan in Uganda, the suburbanite in Milwaukee, and the 13 year-old prostitute on the crowded, yet lonely, streets of San Francisco - they all bear boundless and bottomless value. This value, an unending fountain of worth, springs from our Creator, The Magnificent and Spectacular I AM.
He has an insatiable desire to love us. No better evidence exists outside the silhouette of the carpenter’s son from Nazareth, yes the Nazareth, named Jesus. During His time on earth, two millennia long ago, He sparked a revolution that changed the entire known world. Starting with two handfuls of unremarkable nobodies, Jesus and the revolution He began swallowed up darkness. The revolution was marked by hope and love for the outcast, forgiveness and redemption for the scandalous, and exposure of the price tags of all those crossing their paths.
Centuries later, I am a part of this movement. You are a part of this movement. This movement, known as the church, still has Jesus at the helm. Stitched into the fabric of our faith, our history, and our future, is something as volatile as a keg of gunpowder next to a summer camp bonfire.
I have heard before that a pack of rhinos is called a crash. Whether charging forward with untamed momentum, or enjoying a nap streamside, the correct term for the group is a crash. I love it. It paints the rhinos as animals toting brute force even if they are sitting under a shade tree. Even while sleeping, they are potent with the possibility of causing a crash to be heard throughout all the desert plains.
What if the church, the revolution began by Jesus to change the world, was thought of like a pack of rhinos? What if, even on our worst days, we as Christians, were believed to love and live generously? What if we truly became more like the movement that Jesus began – something that moves and not merely meets. Things moving turn heads. Things living get noticed. Organisms do more meaningful things in this world than organizations. We are charged by our Creator to be an organism – one that is so potent that it actually crashes the culture around it.
We have it within us to do this. This crash ingredient, in my own mind, we call the Holy Spirit. And He lives and breathes inside all of those who breathlessly follow our Revolution Leader. The crash looks like providing flu shots to some more than it does teaching them about the genealogy of Christ. The crash exposes price tags and becomes big brothers and big sisters to outcast kids. The crash can and will change our culture if we listen to where it is thundering next. Can you hear it? It’s coming.

From Wilmore, with Love.


KellyLawson22 said...

wow! What a great challenge for us all.

lauren said...

wow, jay, you are an AWESOME writer. i love this whole idea that you explained in this great!

Anonymous said...

as much as I loved ALL 513 words, and the concept of church=crash, the words that continue to resonate are

..."Jesus and the revolution He began swallowed up darkness"...

I have to assume those are your words, J (not borrowed from man, but bestowed upon by the Holy Spirit), and they speak volumes!

thank you and Jesus loves you!


Jeremiah said...

thanks friends...from all corners of the country!

jason said...

yes! nicely done!! lots of good e-mail signatures up in that b-l-o-g!

KellyLawson22 said...

alright brother. give us more stories. We're all ready!