Sunday night my small group gathered together in Weatherby chapel, sat in a small circle on the floor at the front, and spent the next two hours praying together and singing worship songs. I wish this was more normal for us and in time I hope it will be.
It got me thinking though…why isn’t this more normal?
Why do I feel uncomfortable praying for more than thirty seconds or worshiping without a leader or even a single guitar?
Jesus said in John 15 that the world will hate us as Christians because they hated him. We have been chosen out of the world. This is a theme all through the bible. In Exodus 19 God describes his people as a holy nation, a people set apart for him.
Being set apart naturally means that we will not fit into what is considered “normal” in this culture.
In 1st Peter we are called (depending on translation) aliens, foreigners, sojourners, and exiles and are told that we will be spoken against by the gentiles, or, metaphorically, people who haven’t accepted God’s Kingdom. As aliens, members of God’s kingdom living in this earthly kingdom, our actions will naturally be different because we are of a different people group.
Just think about the insanity that we are accused with when we obey God. Isaiah 55 explains that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways. When we become obedient and align our thoughts with God’s thoughts and our ways with God’s ways we cannot help but look foolish to the world because God’s thoughts and ways are different from what is traditionally accepted.
We’re freaks and weirdoes.
At least I believe we should be.
I began to wonder, while in my worship and prayer session, about something my pastor asked us this Sunday. He asked if all of our decisions made sense. He asked if the way we live appeared completely normal by worldly standards. Do we put our own interests first, do what seems logical, and spend our free time enjoying ourselves or are we something radically different; a wild, exotic freak.
Think about quitting a high paying job to pastor a small church. That doesn’t make sense.
Think about spending hours on end in prayer and worship. That doesn’t make sense.
Think about giving generously and without even thinking even when you don’t logically have the money to spare. That doesn’t make sense.
Putting others above yourself, loving your enemy, and taking care of the poor don’t really make sense.
Even talking about God in everyday conversation seems odd to me at times. I could go for days without bringing up God in my personal conversations with my friends and it would be perfectly normal by cultural standards.
Christianity doesn’t make sense within the value system of our culture because these actions put value on something other than personal gain, enjoyment of life, comfort, and money.
These are the kind of crazy things that I want to be normal for me. I want a new normal. To do this I believe I need to reconnect with my homeland, with a God utterly rejected by this world, and begin to think thoughts that that aren’t my thoughts by nature and live in ways which would not be my traditional ways.
This requires a flipping of the perception of what is valuable. Prayer and worship is valuable. Other people are valuable. Generosity, following God’s instructions no matter what, and trusting in him are valuable. I want it to be normal for me to discuss him with my friends in casual conversation because he is what I want to be the most important to me. And people talk about what is important to them.
This is all simple obedience which stems from the joy of catching a glimpse of the greatness of our God and the magnitude of the mercy he has on us. That messes with a person.
It’s about obedience. These “crazy” things may seem impossible to do, but if God has called us to them, we can do anything because he will give us strength (Philippians 4) and we will find contentment in our lives. Plus, God’s plans are to prosper you, to give you a hope and a future (Jerimiah 29) so that “crazy” thing is for your good…I’d say it’s probably best to do it.
So at least in myself and with my friends I’m going to try to make that a reality. I want to be seen as illogical and crazy. I’m praying for that right now. It’s scary, but also very fun. I’d challenge you to do the same.