Isn’t that a metaphor for American life?I saw this while taking out the trash yesterday morning and I started thinking about the word ‘change’. In presidential elections of course, it is a slogan that means “Our administration will be different than the last guy’s…so vote for us.” Coupled with the right marketing, shrewd presentation of an alternative platform, and a personality that a diverse population can rally behind, you get ‘change’. But what about our lives? What does real change look like? Can we measure it? Should we even talk about it?When most people talk about changing their life, they usually mean “I want to be different.” Usually this has to do with an unfulfilling job, relationship, or something about their body. But when Jesus announced the availability of the Kingdom of God to his followers, he wasn’t talking about tweaking our exercise regime or taking pottery classes on the weekends. We typically equate the word ‘repent’ with individual sins – repent of your greed, lust, anger, etc. But what Jesus meant by ‘repent’ was much more political and comprehensive. He was saying, “Give up you agenda, your solutions to yours and the world’s problems, and follow me.” His call to repentence certainly had personal, moral implications, but it also required allegiance to Jesus – to in effect give up your life.Surrender is something Americans don’t do very well. We truly believe that if we work hard enough, we can fix our problems and then take on the world’s. But Jesus’ idea of change is obviously quite a bit different from ours. I’m not sure you can measure change, but I think I know what if feels like. It’s not pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps kind of stuff. It identifies with the broken – the losers, the spit-on and shat-on, those without hope that anything of significance could ever be different. Jesus came announcing his Kingdom – a place where things truly are different and transformation is real. Instead of recycled change, he promises resurrection. And that’s got my vote.
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