Monday, June 25, 2012

The Least

We all have certain things that we just won't say. I cringe when people talk about unpacking anything other than a suitcase. I find that pastors, in particular, really like to unpack things. They unpack topics and ideas and articles. Bleh. I don't know why. It bugs me. I'll never unpack something that doesn't roll through an airport. Cross my heart.

I'll never call you "Honey"  or "Hon" unless you are A) young enough to be my child or B) Cory Martin.

Upon being surprised by something, I won't slap my knee and exclaim, "Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle!" (Though I kind of love it when other people do.)

Similarly, you may foolishly choose to forgo the use of "swoony" to describe anything from a garden to a belt to a premature shifting of the seasons to kid art. Whatever, okay? It's your life. Choose to be unswoony if you must.

Up until a year ago, I prided myself in never, ever typing "LOL" on anything. For me, it will forever mean "Lots of Love". I just like it better that way. When something is funny, I've found that an old-fashioned "ha ha!" still works just fine. Sidenote: Cory recently found out that LMAO doesn't stand for "Lame-o". Now, I reserve my LOLs only for Haven, who uses the abbreviation almost like a period. She used to text me from the Fox Room, "I'm hungry LOL." or "I think Calvin's out of bed LOL." To Cory and I, it has become its own thing.  So sometimes he'll text me something like, "I'll meet you by the entrance in ten minutes LOL." It cracks our funky business way up.
Of course there's nothing wrong with saying these things. They're just not for me. They don't feel quite right.

Confession, I have always secretly struggled with referring to anyone as "the least of these". I'm sorry, Jesus. It bugs me. No matter who says it or how many tattoos they have, it sounds kinda uppity. I don't care for the us/them ring to it. It feels a bit caste-systemish. If I'm saying she's "the least", what does that make me? The much better? The slightly holier? The fancier? The cleaner? The luckier? What??

I could never shake the feeling that I was the least, even if no one else could see it. Even if they refused to believe me. 

I tip-toed this one around in my pocket, because churchy people right now really like talking about serving "the least of these". (I don't even like to type it.)

I never breathed a word about it out loud, though I did take it up with God a time or two. I felt like there must have been a better way, and who better to have cracked that code but the one who wrote it in the first place?

He never answered or maybe I just never heard his rebuttal. Until today. And naturally, His beautiful truth was carried straight to my faulty ears by a loud, emotional, Southern woman. You know the one.

This is how grave the gospel's challenge is: 'Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me' (Matthew 25:40). It is as simple as it is radical. If every believer obeyed accordingly, I daresay we would become the answer to all that ails society.

These are the words by which we are sent, but wondrously, they are also the words by which we are saved. They are not simply a revelation of crisis and the call to active love; they are also an invitation to personal recognition. Each one of us, as it turns out, counts as the least...It is not that Jesus looks on us as helpless or powerful, poor or rich, weak or strong. We are loved because we are living images of God, made in His likeness and created for the heights of His glory and the depths of communion. Our very God took on our form for the love of humanity, privilege or poverty aside. In contrast to God's perfection, we are all the least, each and every one, identified entirely with a Savior who loves us recklessly.  (emphasis mine)

- Jen Hatmaker, Interrupted

Maybe it's been made clear to all of you by now that I am officially enamored of all the Hatmakers, every one of them, even the ones who haven't written books. Yet. (Put me on the waiting list, Remy!)

But I'm telling you, man, they'll send your head to spinning then put it back on upside-down. The crazy part is - you'll like it upside-down. You'll realize that it was always meant to be that way. Sure, people will think you're a weirdo. And yes, an upside-down head does complicate the whole eating thing, but in the end, a heart seems to like it when someone comes along and helps decode the riddles.

Lots of Love,
The Official Least

ps - I also read this today in Interrupted, "We looked each other in the eyes, and we were the same. Fragile human who are patterned after Jesus..."   I have but one word for that: spooky. (Not to be confused with "swoony" LOL.)