Living Jesus?

I just got home from a day’s work in a public school. I’ve been working in this public school for nearly 27 years now. We’re a relatively small K-12 with lots of poor kids. Median per capita income in my community is a little over $13,000 a year. We’re way down the list in New York State.

I was reading one of these internet blogs or journals or news sites and the headline “Religious Freedom For All.” I read the article along with another article by Mr. Colson somewhere on the Internet. These folks want to have kids saying prayers and mentioning the name Jesus in their classrooms and some of the folks are indignant that they can’t. I think they think that if we mentioned Jesus more in the schoolhouse and posted the Ten Commandments in the courthouse that somehow everything would be wonderful. They seem to think that what’s wrong with public eduation and society as a whole is that there isn’t enough of their brand of Jesus.

Praying in school is okay with me and I’ll bet Jesus loves it. Jesus was a regular guy, just like one of us. I don’t think they had public schools in his day, but if they did I’ll bet he’d have attended one. He was born in a stable, his folks were kind of like wetbacks. Soon after he was born his folks had to leave their native country and flee because the leaders of his day didn’t want another king in their country. Then after sometime as refugees his Mom and Dad return home and live in Nazareth. It’s kind of a crummy town. It’s a military outpost. I’ve lived on some military bases and they aren’t usually in the best parts of town and most of the enlisted folks who live on or off base live in inexpensive homes. What I’m getting at is Jesus was a poor guy. He opened his public ministry with a statement about coming to liberate the poor. From the 4th chapter of Luke, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.”

That’s a radical message. What do you suppose would happen if we started teaching that sort of stuff in public schools? What would good tidings to the poor be? How about if we start proclaiming that message at the top of our lungs in public schools. How about if we tell the poor kids in Franklinville and elsewhere in these United States what Jesus said about “Love your enemies”. I wonder what would happen if the next time a military recruiter shows up at the school if I started laying a little of what Jesus has to say about, “He who lives by the sword, shall die by it also.” What if I shared what it is written in the 12th Chapter of Romans? “If possible, on your part, live at peace with all. Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Rather, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.”

What if poor kids or even rich kids started really buying into Jesus and started living like the Book of Acts. What if they refused to buy into the war machine, but instead bought into the Jesus message? That would be radical. I think following Jesus is difficult. It’s a counter cultural message, because if you’re really following Jesus you can’t take revenge on the people that irritate you. That is very difficult. Oh well I don’t think that what the Family Research Coucil had in mind. I think they were after a more watered down Jesus message. One where there is flag waving, mom and apple pie.

Imagine what it would be like if more of us started living the message of the gospel. WOW!