There is a story I know about what happens when someone ordinary proposes an extraordinary idea. So extraordinary that it completely rocks the foundations of all politics, societal conventions, and economic pursuits. It’s a simple concept, but a real axis-tilter.
This idea sprouts from a decision to reject systems that oppress people based on a very long list of reasons – virtually one for every type of person. In other words, whatever makes you unique probably qualifies you for some form of penalty. You’re from the wrong place or you don’t make the right amount of money. You have an unsavory medical condition. You love the wrong person. You’re a woman. You’re different, and that’s bad.
On top of that, the world you live in is a violent, uninviting place where people hurt each other easily, and readily. Violence is an accepted part of everyday life. Toe this line, or you’re out. Or dead. Or both.
As this story goes, one day an ordinary man with an ordinary job from an ordinary family has an extraordinary idea. He thinks about life in his world and decides that there must be a way to steer everything in a different direction, away from violence and oppression. He connects with like-minded people and they try to spread the word about this idea. People begin to break free from the oppressions of this world. It is a brand new day.
You know stories like this. You know that what comes next is that the people who were perfectly happy with the world the way it was (and turning a nice profit, thank you), see change a-comin’ and decide to preserve what’s theirs. Namely, everything.
First, they try to trip up the reasoning on this extraordinary idea. That fails, since the idea is so simple. By now, they’re sweating because their way of life is at stake. Their wealth and power – all of it – could crumble if this extraordinary idea takes hold and spreads further. What would you do to stop the spread of a threatening idea? Silence the messenger, of course.
By now, this ordinary man with an extraordinary idea has become fairly extraordinary himself. But this isn’t enough to stop a speeding steamroller, and he knows it. So rather than stepping out the way of said speeding steamroller, he meets it head on.
The results are not pretty, as you can imagine. The power-brokers ambush him. There’s a pantomime of a trial, but as soon as the cuffs are on you know that the verdict has already been written. It’s a bold one who stands in front of a steamroller and says, Bring it on.
What the ordinary man-become-messenger knows that his persecutors don’t know is that they can try to kill the messenger, but they can’t kill the message. And if you can’t kill the message, well, maybe you really can’t kill him, either.
Are you ready to hear this extraordinary, axis-tilting, astonishingly simple idea that drove a government and population to pursue and try to silence one man?
Love one another.
There’s no apparent money or power in it. Just a simple directive to take care of each other. What a paradise it would be if every decision that every person made was based on whether it truly and honestly showed love for another. Heaven on earth, indeed.
With special thanks to Mark, Matthew, John, Luke, Paul, Peter, the Marys, the players in the Old book, and, of course, a once- ordinary man with an extraordinary idea: Jesus.