“I don’t care if it rains or freezes, long as I’ve got my plastic Jesus glued to the dashboard of my car.”
That’s a line in a song by the Goldcoast Singers, recorded in 1962. I heard it on the car radio one day driving to a university class. I still remember thinking of the plastic idol on car dashboards – a reality for some who called themselves believers. Though I was not a believer then, I understood that Christians considered Him divine. Even I could see that their God was being trivialized in a plastic piece of junk.
A few years before that, as a teen, I was once asked if I “loved” Jesus. Why would I love him, I thought? No reason for this love was given to me.
Though I desperately needed forgiveness for my sins back then, all that was being asked was if I loved Jesus. I was being asked if I would like to join the Jesus club. I declined.
Faith is not “pop” or cliché or trivial. I believe that trite “Christian-speak” expressions that become popular at different times do a disservice in addressing the soul-deep need of every human to be reconciled with God through Jesus, the Anointed One.
Slogans and repeated phrases – though they may be Biblical – may lack meaning to the unbeliever when they are repeatedly used to make a first step at reaching wounded hearts.
We are made in God’s image, and we all long to transcend this life of pain and sin. The “Christian speak” that believers often fall into can sound superficial. If it does not address the reality of faith, it is fake, by definition.
I can’t help but wonder if believers in the original church of the Apostles in Jerusalem asked Gentiles if they “loved” Jesus. Or if they were told that “Jesus loves them?”
“He is risen” is a historical truth. The resurrection truth is powerful. It is powerful because it delivers the Savior to His people. It is a truth that saves me from paying for my sins – which I could never do.
But when that same phrase is proclaimed on countless banners on countless churches it gets watered down as we seek to call the sinner. And that is our job – isn’t it?
God can use anything to call His people to Him – even the John 3:16 sign held up in sports stadiums or the “He is Risen” banners on churches at Easter.
But why must the trite predominate? Can’t we, individually as believers, and societally as His church, touch hearts in a more personal, moving way?
Perhaps if we remind others of the sin that wounds them fatally, we would be doing as Jesus would have us do. The first words of His ministry were the call to repentance.
That call is one of reconciliation with God. That is why the Savior came to humanity. That is why I have hope of eternal life with my Creator. He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, through the work of the only powerful man who has ever existed: Messiah Jesus! – fully human, yet fully divine.
We can communicate God’s love with our words, with our actions, and with our behavior. We can tell of Him to those who are mentally challenged, to the worst of criminals, to the rabid atheist, and to a small child. All need God’s love. We needn’t be eloquent. But we need to be real – and never trivialize the message or meaning of our Savior.