For some reason someone has produced a calendar for 2014 that is full of images of old red telephone boxes in Wales! The story made the BBC news because not one of these calendars has been sold. When I shared the story on Facebook with the comment ‘I’d buy one!’ my mother commented; “what does that say about you?” My reply was: “It says that I want to own something so unique that no-one else has one. It says that I have seen something precious in this calendar that no one else has.”
As I wrote those words the lights came on and I realized that the calendar was a bit like Christianity. Most people look at Christianity and see nothing to make them want to look further, or to buy into what for them is just religious nonsense. For those who look deeper there is something incredibly unique in Christianity that is so precious it cannot be valued.
The reason so many people believe Christianity to be so completely irrelevant is because they believe it to be a religion. Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship. Did Mary and Joseph worship Jesus? They knew who He was but I am betting that they had their fair share of parenting issues. The one we know about is when the twelve-year old Jesus managed to remain in Jerusalem alone for three days while His parents were travelling home. And did the twelve men who became known as Jesus’ disciples fall flat on their faces every time they set eyes on Jesus? No. They went on boating trips together, and they hung out in places religious people would never be seen. The disciples even lounged around the table when Jesus was sharing His last meal with them before His arrest on trumped up charges.
I want a ‘Fast Disappearing Red Telephone Boxes of Wales’ calendar because it is unique. Likewise I follow Jesus because He is unique, and because His Father is my Father, and because my Father wants a unique relationship with me. But there is one other thing. Telephone boxes may not seem relevant anymore in a world of high-tech communications, but I have seen telephone boxes that are still relevant because they have changed to meet the needs of the world in 2013. We do not have to change Jesus to make Him relevant. If we took the time to get to know him, rather than accepting the two-dimensional view of Jesus portrayed by Christianity, in Christmas cards, on stained glass windows, etc., then the very different Jesus we would discover would be so compelling that we would drop everything to follow Him. Just like a bunch of fishermen did 2,000 years ago.
Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it! (Matthew 13:45-46 NLT)