Jesus Will Set You on Fire

on fire
Photo credit: Eva Garmendia

Mark 1:1-8

It all started with Jesus, the child of God.

Isaiah the truth-teller wrote:

Watch! I’m sending it out on the early warning system so you will be ready –
A clear signal breaking through the noise:

“Get the road home ready.
Straighten up!”

So John showed up in the middle of nowhere, dunking people in a river telling people to straighten up because it’s time to break free. People came from everywhere, even from Washington DC, to renounce their misdeeds and get cleaned up in the river.

John dressed in ratty coveralls and leather suspenders. He kept to a strict vegan diet. And his message: “Get ready for someone so cool I’m unworthy to even tie his shoes! I just got you wet. He’ll set your life on fire!”

(See also, previous comments on this passage, October 6, 2011.)

The clear sign of Jesus being in the house is when people’s lives catch on fire. Not the kind of fire that gets people all hyped up for an hour on Sunday morning and then they can go back to whatever they were doing before. Not the flash-in-the-pan kind of fire, like your Uncle Max who always has a new thing that he’s really excited about, and everybody knows that nothing’s ever going to come of it.

When your life is on fire the way Jesus sets it on fire is when your inspired to do something great and stick with it for the long haul. Something that really will change people’s lives. Maybe even change the world. It could just as easily be teaching kindergartners at the school down the street as it could be digging wells somewhere in Africa. It could be feeding people dinner every night as easily as launching the next iPad. It could be getting on a bus to Washington for a demonstration, or it could be running for town board at home.

Like John, you show up. Maybe in the middle of nowhere. And you start helping people put their lives back together, or maybe build them for the first time. Wherever they come from. Whatever their patchy past may have been. Whatever your patchy past may have been.

And when that happens. It’s really cool.

Walk Away

wilderness sign
Photo credit: bopacasi

Mark 1:1-8

It all started with Jesus, the child of God.

Isaiah the truth-teller wrote:

Watch! I’m sending it out on the early warning system so you will be ready –
A clear signal breaking through the noise:

“Get the road home ready.
Straighten up!”

So John showed up in the middle of nowhere, dunking people in a river telling people to straighten up because it’s time to break free. People came from everywhere, even from Washington DC, to renounce their misdeeds and get cleaned up in the river.

John dressed in ratty coveralls and leather suspenders. He kept to a strict vegan diet. And his message: “Get ready for someone so cool I’m unworthy to even tie his shoes! I just got you wet. He’ll set your life on fire!”

Usually, people go to Washington to have their big rallies and protests. Not John. Against all the advice about how to lead a movement, John’s strategy was to get the people out of Washington. In Washington, the movement is in danger of selling its soul for access. But the whole point of the movement is to break free.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be Washington. It’s whatever and wherever bad habits and old misdeeds are tying your hands, keeping you from really living. It’s whatever and wherever traditions, taboos, rules, corporate cultures, or group-think, or your “my (mother/father/3rd grade teacher/fill-in-the-blank) said I’d never amount to anything” script hamstring the greater good that is calling. John is about getting you to walk away from all of that, just walk away, get out of there, even if it feels like you’ll end up in the middle of nowhere – so you can be ready for your life to catch on fire!

Go ahead. I dare you. John dares you. Walk away.