A Quest for Catalytic Conversion!
Q has always had a prophetic edge and 17 weeks ago in the days before the coronavirus lockdown of 2020 we were exploring the themes of Order and Chaos.
Unaware of the chaos of Covid that was about to disrupt our lives and the death of George Floyd that would spark worldwide conversations on race relations, we had a programme planned that now seems more appropriate than ever.
So this is our Quest for Catalytic Chaos!
The first century revolutionary, Jesus of Nazareth famously declared "I have come that you might have life and life to the full!" So the question to us is "Are we living our lives to the full and if not what needs to change?"
When a scientist conducts an experiment, a catalyst is often added to the process to speed it up and make the process happen quicker! What process needs speeding up in your life? If we want to grow and be transformed in any area of our life then chaos may well be the uncomfortable catalyst that we need if we are going to leave our shores behind and find the life that we are seeking.
In the Pixar movie, Monsters Inc, a little girl called Boo becomes a catalyst in the Monster World, turning their world upside down but ultimately prompting them to new ways of thinking and a different way of living. But first... she causes a bit a of chaos!
The past few weeks have seen a painful example of the catalytic effect of chaos in our world in the death of George Floyd. The horrific video of his death travelled around the world and conversations about race relations multiplied. Whatever perspective you may hold on these complex issues...no-one can deny that this awful event has been a powerful catalyst in getting people to think, talk, understand and make changes.
The stain of racism on humanity is nothing new and the beautiful movie The Hundred-Foot Journey tells the story of a family from India that move to the French countryside and open a restaurant...one hundred feet opposite a Michelin-starred French restaurant. As cultures collide we see intolerance, destruction and violence rising to the surface in the French natives. Madame Mallory, (Dame Helen Mirren) is the owner of the French restaurant and uses the chaos that has ensued as a catalyst to bring about loving change.
ANTH - PART 1
What comes to mind when you think of the person of Jesus?
Many of us may have been told of a gentle, meek, mild-mannered Jesus who strolled across lakes and was polite and ... nice! Jesus, may have been all these things at times but the stories we've been left with reveal a revolutionary teacher who was so challenging that many couldn't handle his message, so life-changing that people tore houses apart to get to him and so offensive that the religious leaders of his time organised his murder.
His offensive messages include the timeless "LOVE YOUR ENEMIES" and "DON'T JUDGE PEOPLE" and he challenged his followers to treat everyone as they'd treat him, saying "IN AS MUCH AS YOU'VE DONE IT TO THE LEAST OF THESE, YOU'VE DONE IT TO ME."
The great commission is more challenging than just simply recruiting followers to a cause, the great commission is a call to go out to those that our insecurities won't accept.
Madame Mallory gives us a beautiful example of this great commission in action as she crosses the hundred feet between the two restaurants to wash the racist slogan off the wall of her new Indian neighbours and as she moves towards her neighbours, the talented, young Indian chef, Hassan, moves towards her and a new journey begins.
If you haven't seen this movie then it's well worth watching and you can find it on Netflix here: https://www.netflix.com/title/70307659 or Amazon Prime here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hundred-Foot-Journey-Lasse-Hallström/dp/B00S59TER8
In another great quote from the movie, Madame Mallory declares: "In this restaurant we do not serve an old, tired marriage but a passionate affair."
ANTH - PART 2
Why does a marriage become old and tired? Why does anything become old and tired? There are some who may be old in years and yet have remained passionate and young of spirit because they have refused to settle and get stuck in a spiritual rut, but have stuck with the quest of being transformed by the renewing of their minds, willing to change and embrace the catalyst of chaos with grace and open hearts and minds.
The passionate affair that we insist on serving here at Q is the way of love. Not a love that is dependant on you agreeing with me, not a kindness that is conditional of your good behaviour or you conforming to my preferences, but an unconditioned love, freely given to all.
As this final, beautiful clip shows us, those that were once enemies can become friends and those that fought each other over their differences can work together to build, share, cook and sit down to eat as one family.
Over the past few years, the world has been described by some as being "increasingly polarised" and we read of "a rise in extremism" as people easily fall into the trap of focussing on what they disagree on. What would a rise in Christian extremism look like? If we are going to follow the message and example of Jesus then the great commission to us is to love... not love those who we agree with, not love those who love us... but to demonstrate an unconventional love because as this song declares: In the end, LOVE WINS.