I have always considered myself a non-conformist, someone who was happy to challenge the accepted norm in religious life. However, I have recently realised that actually I do like things to be done as they used to be done, in the conventional way, albeit with some flexibility! When things happen in church life that are different, part of me supports the unconventionality, and part of me gets upset – it’s not being done ‘properly’.
I went to a family wedding recently, which was far from conventional. It was on a Sunday, in a pub, with no religious service, and no-one wore formal attire, including the bride and groom! My initial reaction was “you can’t do it like that”, but actually it was a really good occasion and everyone was happy – including me.
Then I was reminded of the story in John 2 where Jesus turns the water into wine. The poor bridegroom appears to have been told off by the Master of Ceremonies for being unconventional and doing it better! Poor chap. I wonder if he knew that it was Jesus who had upset the normal order of things.
Jesus didn’t seem to have a problem with producing the best in the wrong order, He was more concerned with a premature revelation of who He was. And that made me think – so much of what we do to keep things in right order are not God’s order but man’s. Does it matter what we wear to church, or whether we sing new or old songs, or whether the sermon comes first or last in the service?
Jesus’ main concern was that His Father was glorified (John 17:4), even in the right order of drinking wine. Perhaps we ought to qualify our assessments of what is conventionally right by asking ourselves “Is Father God being glorified in this or not?”
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for being unconventional. You were always right and lived according to God’s order, but so often You broke the traditions of Your contemporaries and pointed to what was really important. Your one motive was to bring glory to Your Father. May we also be prepared to go against the convention, when You so direct us, but always with the purpose of glorifying God. Amen.
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