I know it might hard to believe, but I was not always the ultra cool pastor dude I am today. In fact as a youth, I was ummm… well… I was a bit of a well… I was a nerd of sorts. Maybe a better word would be geek, whatever you call it I was not one of the popular kids in school. In fact when I was younger, I got picked on, and in my memory, quite a bit. I got picked on for a lot of reasons, some I had absolutely no control over.
I had glasses, I was uncoordinated, a late bloomer and about as socially awkward as you can imagine! I also loved Star Trek, Star Wars, computers, photography and I wasn’t particularly into sports.
In many ways I am not all that different than I was as a kid, but I have sort of grown into my personality and body over the years and quite frankly people don’t tend to pick on people who are 6’6″ and push 300 lbs. It is funny how some things don’t change but their perception of them might change. You know those glasses I wore as a kid, those horn rimmed thingys… well I guess they are a fashion statement now. Back in my day the only person that looked good in them was Berry Goldwater, not a 7 year old kid!
I don’t let teasing bother me too much either. In fact I think I can take a good joke and I rather enjoy the give and take of poking fun amongst people who genuinely care for each other. Most of all in regards to our book of faith Lenten Journey devotions, I am not harassed because I am a Christian, nor am I harassed because I am a Christian pastor.
I am fortunate to live in this country. There are many in this world today who are not so fortunate. Big or small, good looking, popular or otherwise, if you are a Christian you can be picked on and much worse. There are people each day who find their lives and livelihoods in trouble because of their faith. So it has been for much of the history of the Christian faith. In the earliest days I think those first disciples heard this petition and good news… as the purest form of Gospel there is.
“Save us from the time of trial” Oh.. boy! Those are some trials. But as followers of Christ should the fact that we might be picked on and persecuted for our faith come as a surprise?
Think about it… we are in Holy Week; Good Friday is but days away. If God’s Son so offended people with his love and honesty, don’t you think we might have a hard go of it from time to time? After all Jesus was the one who called to us to pick up our crosses and follow him.
Now this doesn’t mean that we look for trouble, nor does it mean you can count on being persecuted on a regular basis. Whew! But when you side with the poor and powerless in the world you might come under some suspicion. I mean it is all about power and wealth isn’t it?
Well the cross and empty tomb attest to the fact that the things we often think are important are not. Life, love and service in Christ’s name are in fact what it is all about. Does this mean as cross bearers as Christians who love the lost and the least that we are relegated to horrible lives? No, in fact being a follower of Christ can in fact open up the way for a life full of blessings, among these blessings is this very petition of the Lord’s Prayer “save us from the time trial.”
As we face trails, we do not walk alone, as we struggle, we do not walk alone, as we experience the joys of life and celebrate each turning point we do not do this alone. I don’t think you can over rate this experience, this knowledge that we are not alone. We are a people made to be in relationship and it is in Christ that we find we are never alone, even when all others may be against us, Jesus love is with us in all things, And that is the biggest blessing there is!