the TEN-sion mounts…*

It is 3000AD and there is an opportunity to end the war that had seemed like it had lasted forever. A commando was needed to go into the dangerous and hostile enemy-occupied territory. The Commander-in-Chief needed to send someone they could trust, someone brave, someone who was willing to risk everything for the sake of the mission.

Many soldiers had volunteered but nobody knew who was selected. On the day the mission began the entire army gathered to watch. They saw the commando walking to the launch pad, kitted out with his robotic blast-resistant exoskeleton, his database-linked awareness-augmenting helmet and his instantteleport device on his back. He was armed to the teeth with the latest techno-weapons.

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And then they gasped as the Commander-in-Chief ordered that the robotic blast-resistant exoskeleton be removed. One of the Generals protested: “Without his robotic exoskeleton he will be weak, and he will be vulnerable. He could easily be injured, or worse.”

The Commander-in-Chief nodded gently, and then ordered that the instant-teleport device be removed too. He would only be able to use the transport available on the planet. The Generals all had serious misgivings about this, but when the Commander-in-Chief ordered the soldier to leave behind all of his weapons they protested loudly: “How will he fight?”

“He knows,” said the Commander-in-Chief. And finally he ordered that the database-linked awarenessaugmenting helmet be removed. The soldier would not have access to all of their knowledge. But that was not what made the crowd gasp. It was the identity of the soldier who was being sent on what seemed like a suicide-mission. It was the Commander-in-Chief’s only son.

He gave his son a hug and as he went to the launch pad the Commander-in-Chief gave him his final advice: ‘Never forget that I will be with you. Talk to me and rely on me. You can call on me for the knowledge and perspective that you need and while you are doing what I show you to, if you need power to drive off enemies or to heal people then I will supply it, just ask and you will receive’.

As the son departed, the father wept. He wept because he knew the sacrifice that would be required of his one and only son, but mixed with this were tears of joy as he thought about the people that his son was going to save.

Jesus came into this world as a human being, not as God pretending to be a human (Philippians 2.6-8). Jesus came in vulnerability so why do we feel we need to provide all the answers and solutions to the people around us? What does it mean for us to reach out to the world around us in vulnerability?

Jesus became a human and lived amongst us (John 1.14). What would it look like if we decided to reach out to the people around us, to go amongst them rather than trying to get them just to come to church?

The Christmas story provides such a great opportunity for us to be honest about our faith. Pray and ask God to help you to see how you can use this time of the year to talk about what you believe?

Be blessed, be a blessing

*This parable was written by Graeme Ross and me, and circulated around the churches of the Eastern Baptist Association earlier this week.

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