Thursday, August 30, 2007

Big Jesus

On a road trip down I-75 this summer,
I saw Big Jesus.

I stared, gape-mouthed, out the window of our SUV at the immense and oddly proportioned statue of Jesus on the side of the highway. This Big Jesus had thick arms raised to heaven, and behind him was the church that built him.

I wondered if the statue turned out the way they thought it would.

I wondered, because for one thing, the statue is terrible. And I wondered because I have often made big plans and then watched them grow and grow and grow into something much bigger and much worse than the grand idea I had in the first place.

I thought about those church people in the conference room of the church, planning something new. I thought about the first person who suggested it, and the others who excitedly joined in, and the pastor who endorsed it. I thought of all the reasons these good people had for building a big Jesus in front of their church. Most likely honorable reasons. Most likely for the glory of God! But I think that God's glory is a bit out of our control as humans.

We tend to think of God's glory, when we're working in the church, as a little bit of a public relations opportunity. So we write a song that will help everybody really capture the idea of his greatness. We construct a building that will mirror his immensity by its size. And we create a church service that is all fashioned around drawing people in to feel his welcoming arms, and his love.

What's wrong with that? Nothing except when we start thinking that maybe he actually needs a little help with his glory. Because God's got the glory already, you know.

We're just the ones wandering around trying to think up the best ways that we can to tell the world about it, that's all.

And as long as we're human, we'll be writing cheesy songs about Jesus, and we'll be awkwardly Welcoming people to Jesus, and building expensively huge churches for Jesus. And it'll be all wrong, and clumsy, and out of proportion and off-key, as long as we're human.

I think Big Jesus can handle that.


Momma played Bass.... said...

Oh I'll never look at Big Jesus the same way! Thank you for that.

Of course, my kids will still bug me in the backseat with "did we pass Big Jesus yet? How much further until Big Jesus?" but I suppose that could also be some representation of what Jesus means to them. Big Jesus means we're almost "home" to our Grandparents and cousins and Aunts and Uncles. We're almost to the place where we feel total love and get spoiled rotten. Big Jesus means we've made it through Kentucky....(nothing again' Kentucky - but its a long state!) and have crossed the "big, big bridge".

Kulio said...

oh I love that MPB!!!

Momma played Bass.... said...

What's MPB?

Momma played Bass.... said...

Oh, never mind. I figured it out.

kool kenna said...

iv seen him

Crydo said...

We have the same conversation every time we pass him. Who's idea was this? But even still, I like your take -- The real Jesus can handle it!

Anonymous said...

We still want to buy the acreage across the highway and build two big feet sticking up out of the dirt.

Michelle said...

I'm from Canada. Where is Big Jesus found? And, love your blog.


Kulio said...

michelle - I think it's in Tennessee on I-75!!! Now I can't remember exactly, but I think mpb knows....

Anonymous said...

Actually it is on I-75 north of Cincinnatti in southern Ohio