Are those your feet?
by Geir Engoy –
Cross Cultural Ministries
Sweaty and muddy, the feet of the messenger in Isaiah 52:7 carried good tidings to Zion. Now, shouldn’t that be the other way round? Shouldn’t the good tidings come from Zion? Background: you and your society are teetering on the brink of extinction. They have taken away all the people with education, all the lawmakers, all the police, all the business owners, the teachers and the theologians. Then they trash your city. The inhabitants were discouraged, and in bad need of good news. When the news came that reinforcements were on their way, do you wonder why they thought even the feet that carried the people were ‘beautiful’?! The words spoken were not “Man, what a mess you guys are in, you ignorant peasants…” The Good News was: “Your God reigns!”
How does this relate to us today? Are we the ones running to Zion to remind them that ‘Your God reigns’? Have we been somewhere else where it became apparent that whatever god we had was a loser and that the God of Zion is the winner? Or, are we, the “redeemed,” who humdrummingly go to church, in need of Good News? We may claim that we are redeemed, but are we aware of the implications of our redemption? Are we dawdling in Zion only to be reminded by someone from the outside that our God indeed is ‘da man’?
Throughout history, when the Christian witness has stifled (become a noun), new movement (verb) has taken place in the periphery. Today, centers of theological creativity are more and more to be found outside of the traditional Christian West. Ethnic minorities in this country represent places and people of the world where the greatest Christian growth is taking place today. They ask different questions than we do, they come up with different answers than we do. “Religion” is not something that you must keep out of schools, or a Linus-blanket for weak people. Faith in Jesus is something that is hands-on and in direct contact with everyday life situations. There is power in such Christianity. Maybe the reason we so much lack such involved Christianity and display powerless faith is that we have relegated all of this ‘religious stuff’ to an intellectual exercise which has nothing to do with the push and pull of life, the emotional life stuff, let alone our eternal destiny!
Maybe we are just so mired in our own age-old questions and their pat answers that the fire of Zion has all but died out and “foreigners” with beautiful feet need to come and pour some Holy Ghost gasoline on the embers to burn us in the behind and get us up on our beautiful feet to communicate to people who don’t know that our God reigns! New movement takes place on the periphery. That’s where you’d expect to find the watchmen.
People do things like walking their knees into bloody messes and endure arduous sacrifices in order to appease deity, shorten time in Purgatory, in thankfulness, to convey a certain message, to atone for past and future sins. This you may observe, but you really don’t know much about someone’s situation until you have walked for a while in their moccasins. This has to do with identifying with them and their situation, feeling their pain, “being” them for a while. If your motivation for doing this is to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ, then that is “beautiful,” feet and all. The purpose that drives you and the goal you are reaching for make the difference.
Don’t sit down amid the ruins dangling your feet, doubting God’s strong arm! Our God reigns! You have seen the slow-motion replay of the “Hail Mary” pass that finds a team-mate’s hands and wins the game. You can really believe in this quarterback, he won’t get sacked. You just make your beautiful, happy feet carry you to the end zone; victory is assured by your own personal world champion.