As I rocked a very sick four-year-old who was sobbing from pain and fear, I asked myself—sobbing also after the bargaining-with-God stage—what would Jesus do? My first thought: Jesus would just zap the child healthy. My second thought: I am not Jesus. So I sought desperately, what else would Jesus do?
From available evidence I concluded this: Every day of his time with humans, Jesus surprised somebody.
Who am I then to think I can always project, “what would Jesus do?” The effort usually is worthwhile, but today might be my day to be surprised. So I look also to God's word, to God's Spirit, and to the astonishing people who do what Jesus would do. The scriptures call them holy ones. Saints do not receive prayers; they provoke prayers. They show me what to pray for and how to pray. I cannot learn how to do miracles from a saint, but I can learn how to live. I think for example of the persevering single parent who works two jobs and still finds time to take her kids to soccer practice and to church.
One such role model for millions is Fred Rogers. In the following clip, Mr. Rogers reprises with neighborhood policeman François a moment they first enjoyed in 1969, when situating black and white feet in the same pool was rather more contentious. Mr. Rogers invites, Mr. Rogers listens, and Mr. Rogers always gently models the many ways to say I love you. At the end of the clip, Mr. Rogers does what Jesus did. Click the picture:
There's more. Catching just the last seconds of the StoryCorps National Public Radio interview (below) enthralled me and led to my sharing here.
When I mentioned Mr. Rogers to some sophisticated 14-year-olds, they disdainfully imitated his. slow. simple. style. I mentioned that some of them a few years ago could not have gone swimming around here. I whipped out the pool video with Officer Clemmons singing. They responded, “wow”, “brave” “so cool”.
Who are your role models? Are you vigilant for role models? Do you, while you can, thank and encourage role models? Do you imitate them? For example, I aim to be worthy of trust, but I also aim with love every day to surprise somebody. If you find that I haven't loved or surprised somebody for several days, please check my pulse. Given the cloud of role models that surrounds us, the following perspective from Torquato Tasso is not that hard to implement. He wrote:
“Any time not spent on love is wasted.”
At The Surge we love doing things together... that includes writing a blog! Here are a few of our main contributing authors:
Our fearless leader, Dwaine is the lead pastor at The Surge. His experience in counter terrorism with the CIA prepared him for ministry and he likes dogs and babies even more than E does.
E (short for Eric Reiss) is the Wingman at The Surge and likes dogs, music, Mexican food, his wife Karen and his little girl Evangeline... not necessarily in that order.