Shot gun at the ready, Bruce stood on the footpath outside of the bank waiting for the payroll for 6,000 people to be brought out and locked in the armoured van and delivered to the steel company.
The faces of the shoppers reflected their reaction at seeing Bruce standing armed on the footpath. Fear, curiosity, recognition and one or two even entertained the thought of robbery. No challenge was mounted only later he was asked, ‘Should a Christian carry a gun?’
Bruce was pastoring a church and working as a security agent. He believed in the worker/priest ethos.
BREAKING THE STEREOTYPE
Bruce glanced down the street, coming towards him was a colleague, his gown billowing in the breeze behind him.
Without thinking Bruce greeted him, ‘Good day, Leo,’
Startled, many emotions crossed Leo’s face as he recognised Bruce. During that morning the two men attended an ecumenical meeting for ordained ministers at which Bruce was the Chairperson. For Leo to meet Bruce performing a secular job as a shot gun rider was despoiling the image held of pastors and priests as men of God. As a man of the cloth, Bruce should not have been riding shot gun, he should maybe, have been praying, reading the Bible, or performing some holy task. Leo could only gather up his skirts and scurry down the street as though avoiding contamination.
Bruce smashed the traditional images of holiness and sanctity. It meant the bastion called tradition was being challenged and found wanting, which for many people is terrifying. How easy it is to create concepts of holiness and images of who God is that is false, steeped in traditions, based of all kinds of untruths. When these concepts are challenged, declared false, then we are left rudderless, without purpose. In our inner being we have no anchor.
THE ALL TIME IMAGE BREAKER
Jesus Christ was an image breaker. Just read his life’s history in what is known as the four Gospels of the New Testament. Jesus went home to tea with a shonky tax man called Zacchaeus. He accepted a drink from a woman who had had five husbands and even then was living in sin. His best friends were a group of fishermen.
Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, or as the book of Hebrews quotes, ‘The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.’ For all his big talk, Jesus kept dubious company. If we want a true picture of God we need to look at Jesus. To see Jesus is to see God. For further images of truth there is the Bible.
Jesus claimed that he is the Bread of Life, the Living Water, the Way and the Truth. Those of us who have put these claims to the test have found Jesus is not a liar, a scam, a Pretender. Those of us who have trusted our all to Jesus have found Jesus is the Bread of Life and we hunger no more. Our inner being is stabilised, we search no longer for that elusive anchor of peace and joy. We have found it.
BREAKING FROM TRADITIONS
Jesus had to break our preconceptions of God, his holiness and his love to be able to reach the rank and file of humanity. Let’s refresh our memory with these words, ‘For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.’ (John 3: 16 LB)