Saturday, March 19, 2016

like nobody else--just like Jesus

The Word for today:
Jeremiah 11, 12
mark this: Jeremiah 12:9 --
My people are like a speckled bird...
I meet with a small group a couple times a month. I think of the group as the Black Ducks, my extrapolation of "black sheep" and "odd ducks." My Dad told me I was the black sheep of the family when I was barely old enough to understand the phrase. "Every family's got one, and you're ours." Thing was, when he said it, he meant it as praise. And so do I; in fact, I love those Black Ducks. Thank God, every church has some.
There's Shellster, always. We've never been apart. There's Elusive Jimmy, who will disappear if you let him, but Mary and I keep an eye on him, so he can't. Mary has ESP--extra spiritual perception. She sees around corners. Laura is glad. About what? About everything! Tom is a realist; no whitewash or sugarcoating interferes with his outlook. I run the Tom-Test to see if an idea will fly. Vicky's Spirit emanates. The polar opposite of catching a cold; when you're around her, you'll catch fire! Dan could and should be President. Julie knows. She just knows.
When this flock congregates, Shelley prepares a lesson, which we sometimes get to. I'm under strict orders not to say anything until everyone else has been heard, but that's never happened. Every week, some one of us prints up the lyrics to an old hymn or a contemporary Jesus song. We linger over those lyrics for a while. Then I'll drag in something from Second Corinthians or Zephaniah; Shelley, shining, kicks my foot under the table because I'm supposed to wait, but that's never happened. Laura grows glad, then gladder; Vicky transcends; Tom tests the supposition; Mary's already around the corner; Dan's in the building (you know when Dan's in the building); and Julie knows. She just knows. By the way, has anybody seen Jimmy?
Are you an odd duck? A black sheep?
Are you a horse of a different color? A speckled bird?--
My people are like a speckled bird...
If you have decided to follow Jesus, you are walking in the footsteps of the greatest nonconformist who ever drew breath. He defies classification. He will fit in no category. He mocks any box men have used in their attempts to contain him.
We expose the limits of language when we attempt to describe him. We search in vain for comparison or analogy:
"To whom will you liken Me, and make Me equal
And compare Me, that we should be alike?"
 (Isaiah 46:5)
And the better we know him, the more indescribable he becomes.
The Bible warns us against conforming to this world:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2)
Our only conformity is to is Jesus:
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. (Romans 8:29)
God likes your speckles and freckles; he placed them there so he could tell you apart from all his other children. He likes every hair of your head; he counted them, colored them, and placed them there.
Odd as it may sound, God wants you to be like nobody else. Just like Jesus.

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