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Maybe I am wide eyed and a little crazy – but then sanity always was over rated!

December 13, 2014

I read recently that one in three people in this country suffers at some time from mental illness of some sort. Every third person – good job there’s only one of me! Most mental illness is hidden. But sadly I sometimes see some poor person out on the streets, strange and frightening, shouting at people. This is rare but it is the image that our society has of the mentally ill – the ‘crazy person’ who looks and sounds strange.

That led me to think about John the Baptist. A strange figure. From the descriptions in the Bible John is was more than a bit odd. He wore strange clothes and ate even stranger food. If I didn’t know who he was I’d just think he was the local ‘crazy person’ from 2000 years ago, a sad figure shouting out at passers-by. That impression isn’t lost either when he opens his mouth – “The end of the world is coming”, “repent and be baptised or else”. Even worse he claimed that God was speaking directly to him. – Hearing voices too – All John needs to finish all this off is a sandwich board. A wide eyed and manic figure – a sad failure of care in the community.

But things aren’t always what they seem. We put out some stale coffee cake for the birds. They came. First a few starlings, then the resident rooks, then the seagulls came! The seagulls went mad for it all. They gobbled it up, then went crazy. Seagulls are volatile birds at the best of times, but seagulls on caffeine and on a sugar high are truly scary. Wide eyed they ran, and squawked and dived above the garden, then in a mad rush they all vanished off into the distance.

Things aren’t always what they seem and not all ‘crazy people’ are mad. John wasn’t mad. God was talking to him. God’s holy one is coming. The world was about to change for ever and the end of all things will come.

There must have been something very special about this ‘crazy person’, something holy. There had to be something that drew people to travel into the desert to listen to John. Even more, there must have been real power in the way he spoke. Power enough to convince people to make public fools of themselves and let him half drown them in the river Jordan.

John was clearly a great prophet and so I need to listen to him, and listen well. I need to take seriously the coming of Jesus to judge me and all things. I need to get ready.

There are many prophecies in the Bible about the end time and judgement: All true. Such prophecies are still given today and even now some of them I believe are for real. But if Jesus is coming soon, why am I here now 2,000 years later? That’s hardly soon. Well, I know the prophecies are true – it’s the timings we’ve got wrong. After all we are warned that even Jesus did not know the time of his return. So just because the end hasn’t come yet, doesn’t mean that it isn’t coming.

Maybe I’m a ‘crazy person’ but one day I know that all things will end and I will be judged. Judged not just on what I’ve done, or said – but mostly for who I have become. I will be judged against the standard of Christ. I know too that I’m far from perfect so I turn to Jesus as my only hope. Through the Spirit he works in me to make me whole and wholesome. I’m confident then and looking forward to Jesus’ return. I long for this world to be made right. I long for justice and an end to injustice. I long for an end to war and pain and evil.

Too many of my fellow Christians are fearful about the end time. Why? I love Jesus. I trust Jesus. I can trust him with all that I am, I can even trust him with those dearest to me, those I would gladly die for. How he will do it I don’t know. I don’t even think I’m supposed to know. There are lots of images in the Bible, all in strange and poetic words. I know that God is love and that only love and goodness are eternal. I know that evil, in me and in the world, is a corruption of love and goodness and that evil in all forms will will be no more. Evil will be burned or washed away, depending on the Bible image I choose.

Maybe, I am wide eyed and a little crazy – but then sanity always was over rated.

Crazy or sane, this Advent I’m going to try and get myself ready for Jesus to come. Maybe, just maybe, Jesus will return in the next week or two. If not, I’ll just have to settle for the joy of Christmas, all the presents and food and celebration – It’s a hard life when you’re a Christian!

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