Body, Mind & Spirit
I began reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation on January 1 while recording my daily biblical observations and insights on a blog (toddsbible.blogspot.com). It’s been a fun adventure so far. And funny.
I say funny because, the more I read the prophets, the more I am convinced the prophets of old were the original actors.
Take Jeremiah, for instance. At various times he acts out his theology by sitting at a potter’s wheel and shattering clay jugs (chapters 18-19), by eating overripe figs (chapter 24), and by burying a favorite loincloth in the ground near the Euphrates (chapter 13). Of course, the prophet didn’t want to wear the soiled thong after he dug it up (Who would?), and he declares that God doesn’t like soiled people, either. Nevertheless, Jeremiah follows all of God’s instructions to the letter – like he’s acting out a divine comedy – and doesn’t flinch when God tells him to act out again.
Ezekiel, though a bit more apocalyptic, is much in the same vein as Jeremiah. Old Zeke, at various times, builds a brick model of the city of Jerusalem which he then destroys (chapter 4), and also sleeps on an iron skillet, shaves his head and beard with a sharp sword (chapter 5), and even carries his luggage around the city so people will ask him, “Where are you going, Zeke?” His answer? “Into exile, just like you.”
The prophets acted out their proclamations. They were dramatic. They played a game of show-and-tell. And a lot of their actions – though performed during rugged times – were nevertheless hilarious and always over-the-top. Have you ever tried preaching in a loincloth? How about a Snuggie? Ever tried preaching a sermon while wiping down the pulpit with a Sham-Wow (cause we can’t do this all day)?
How about us? Do we perform any dramatic demonstrations of our faith in a time when words are just words and our faith needs some shoe leather to get the point across? How about some dramatic demonstrations of sacrificial love? How about giving beyond a tithe or ten percent? How about a demonstrative action that is so profound, others might ask: “Who are you, and why are you doing this good work?”
Our answers might then carry more weight. “For the love of Christ,” we might answer. Or “this is what the Christian faith looks like” or “we’re not called to sit in a pew, friend, but to step into the world and demonstrate that the Kingdom of God has come upon the earth!”
Just a few things to think about while you’re considering your next move.
Todd Outcalt serves as senior pastor of Calvary UMC in Brownsburg. His latest books are Your Beautiful Wedding on Any Budget (Sourcebooks), School’s Out (Abingdon) and the upcoming $5 Youth Ministry (Group).
I am convinced the prophets of old were the original actors.