Duncan: ‘That crazy Jesus!’ What a blessing to behold
You could hear a pin drop if it weren’t for the preacher standing in front of the congregation talking about the ultimate sacrifice.
“He was beaten.”
Meeting eyes around the room, he paced back and forth as he spoke.
“He was bludgeoned.”
His voice rose just a little.
“Jesus Christ was hung on a cross for your sins!”
Solemn faces looked at their shoes, tears streamed down cheeks, and three rows from the front, dressed in his fancy Sunday suit, my brother stood up in the pew and pumped his fist in the air.
“THAT CRAZY JESUS!”
The silence went from intense to awkward. People wanted to laugh. Is it okay to laugh when a three-year-old jumps into our salvation story and calls the Messiah crazy? Nobody wants to be the first one to crack a smile – that’s for sure.
As a strong believer in Jesus Christ, I take His sacrifice very seriously.
The great suffering He endured to save me from my sins overwhelms me with thankfulness, but I also know that if I hadn’t been a baby in a bucket seat at the time – I would have been laughing at my brother.
There may have been some eye rolls at the disruptive behavior or some gasps at the inappropriate comment. What kind of parents teach their kids that Jesus is crazy?
What only a few knew, Ben was going through a stage where he attached those words to everything.
When Mom was trying to get him to the potty, “That crazy mommy!”
When Dad bounced him on his knee, “That crazy daddy!”
When the guy in front of them in line at the grocery store was wearing crazy yellow pants, “That crazy guy in yellow pants!”
When the name of our Lord and Savior hit Ben’s ears during the sermon, “That crazy Jesus!”
I don’t know how the guy in yellow pants felt about this stage, but I do believe God found it funny. The creator of my most favorite thing, the sense of humor, I know Jesus tipped his head back at Ben’s declaration.
Kids and church: it doesn’t always feel like a match made in Heaven.
They catapult themselves off the pews, throw random things around the room (I once selflessly jumped into the path of a sippy cup headed straight for our preacher’s heart), or are dragged out of the room by their ears.
Even so, kids belong in church. When a child’s voice echoes through a church building, that is the sound of hope. I see this as I conduct the children’s church in our previous church and the one we are at now.
When kids come to the Lord, smeared in snacks and craft glue, He hears them. We always start with prayer requests, and as we go around the room, not many will pass up the chance to share something. Their pure and simple ways must be a daily delight in the Heavens.
“Please pray for Daddy,” one little girl said.
“Is he sick?”
“He went hunting again, and mommy said she’s going to kill him.”
Sometimes prayer requests are used to talk about what level they are on in Minecraft or dogs that either died before they were born or perhaps never existed at all.
“Our dog died,” said one little guy.
“I am so sorry,” I responded.
Then just as my pen dotted the prayer list, his big brother intercepted.
“We have never even had a dog!”
They both looked at me and shrugged.
There are times I have wondered if maybe we do an opening prayer and get straight to the lesson without the requests, but sometimes I am reminded that these little ones deal with big things.
“My friends moved to a different lunch table and won’t let me sit there.”
“Our dog was hit by a car.” (That one was legit.)
“The baby in mommy’s tummy died.”
“Daddy doesn’t live with us anymore.”
“Grandma is sick and we don’t know if she will make it.”
Through this, we learn compassion as we hear what others are going through. We learn it’s okay to speak up when something hurts or we need help.
We learn to pray.
We gather together, taking our hurts, fears, and even our funnies, and sending them up to God. Never once have we done it quietly, perfectly, or anything more than the flawed humans we are.
Them, me, and that wonderful Jesus. What a blessing to behold.
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