I have used the opening gambit before. “I am praying you don’t have a good marriage!” Many will know that it comes from my old friend Rich Mullins. He used to sign autograph’s, “Be God’s” . He thought being good was easy and a lot less than what God demands anyway. I have added to Rich’s thoughts that I reckon the devil would settle for being good. At El Gruer and Stephen Mansell’s wedding I used the talk to draw this out using Jesus words in Luke 6: 27-36. That is a curve ball of a Wedding Reading, all about loving enemies and doing good to those who hate you! Yet, from it I tried to inspire El and Steve to live out of the box mad, beyond normal, nice and good and to be grace compelled interrupters.
OUT OF THE BOX MAD
Just before this passage Jesus has been rattling out out of the box phrases like “blessed are you who are poor” and “blessed are you when people hate you” before adding “woe to you who are rich” and “woe to you when people speak well of you.” That is out of the box insanity. Then Jesus goes on to say that when you are hit on the cheek you are not only not to retaliate but to actually turn the other cheek. He calls his followers to “love their enemies”, and “do good to those who hate them”.
This is crazy stuff and why good is easy but living this Jesus life is so out of the box.
BEYOND NORMAL, NICE AND GOOD
This madness lives life way beyond the normal life. I always think that they devil settles for nice. There are many people who are nice neighbours but make no impact in the world at all. Jesus was keen that we would go beyond what everybody else might think is good. This is what Jesus was talking about when he says that everyone loves those who love them and lend to others expecting to get repaid.
GRACE COMPELLED INTERRUPTERS
There is a key to all of this. It is in the last throw away lines of this passage from Luke chapter 6: 35-36… “you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
This out of the box madness… this going beyond the normal, nice and good… is all sourced from the compelling grace of God. It is God who does that mad thing. God’s Grace compelled him and “he demonstrated his love for us in this that while we we still sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Showing kindness to the ungrateful and wicked is the example we follow when we follow Jesus. That grace then interrupts the way the world is into how the world can be.
So I will not settle for passionate Jesus followers like El and Steve to have “good” marriages. No way. Go for more. Out of the box. Beyond the good. I pray that God’s grace is a verb in their marriage and compels them to interrupt the world where they will live and love and serve…
Are they teaching you how to paint, my love
Suppressing the freedom of your art
Are they colouring inside the lines my love
Oppressing the love of your precious heart
Remember good is not always best, my love
There are times the Lord God deplores it
Rules are not always the way, my love
The devil will more than settle for it
So let your imagination go mad, my love
Throw shapes and shimmy and shake
Create the most seductive intrigue, my love
That no other human being could make
Yes, smash their lines to pieces, my love
Put your soul and this world’s at odds
Be an agitating provocation, my love
And the beauty of the wildness of God.”