Friday, April 3, 2015

Baa Ram Ewe!

Today is what on the Christian calendar is known as Good Friday (unless you belong to the Orthodox tradition, in which case it's next week). [Incidentally, I'm sorry if some of my readers dislike when I get "religious", particularly as it seems more of a focus of my posts recently. But I only really write these days when I feel like I have something to say, and that just happens to be matters of faith these days. This blog was always a random assortment of content and topics. I have no intention of making it an exclusive Jesus blog, nor of avoiding Him in total. These posts and essays reflect all aspects of who I am and the things I think about.]

I live in a part of town that's not great. It's literally the "wrong side of the tracks", and there are people down here that can be colorful characters. Our walls are thin so we hear a lot of what goes on outside. There's a freight train that passes right by our place at all hours of the day. You can hear every time a dog barks across the street. And I won't mention the sounds you can hear from neighboring apartments. So it's no surprise to hear people yell things outside. Every now and then, there will be some sort of traffic and someone will honk and shout at someone. Or people will shout at each other on the street for whatever reason. And in this part of town, it's not exactly an uncommon occurrence.

That's all background so you'll understand it wasn't exactly a surprise that today I was on the computer and randomly hear from down outside some guy yelling out of his car as he passed by. But what he yelled, still felt random. All of a sudden out of nowhere I hear this guy yell, "God damn you!" I don't know who he was talking to (certainly not me; I'm up on the second floor) or why. But it was almost funny because he dragged the words out like a cartoon villain shouting, "I will have vengeance!" or something. And that sound traveled with the doppler effect of his car passing by. So I'm minding my own business and all of a sudden out of nowhere I hear this voice pass by: "Goooooood daaaamn yooooooooooouuuuu!!!!" It really was almost funny, the way it sounded like someone's last words as they plummet from a cliff.

But strangely, this random voice got me thinking about Good Friday. Maybe you don't literally have someone driving by cursing cartoonishly, but there's a voice out there shouting "God damn you!" at you. The Bible calls Satan the Accuser, and says he acts as a kind of prosecutorial adversary against you before God. Satan, in a sense, is constantly passing by your door, hanging his head out his window at you and shouting, "God damn you!" Sometimes we're racked with our own guilt; sometimes we're assaulted with feelings of our own worthlessness. But all of these are manifestations of Satan shouting "Goooood daaaaamn yooooooouuuu!" (For clarity's sake, guilt that comes from conviction and knowledge of your wrongdoing, the sort that leads you to repentence, is not what I'm talking about. That's the work of the Holy Spirit and it leads you to God. The accusations of Satan lead you to despair.)

On the other hand, the guy's words also reminded me, because they rhyme, of the 1995 family movie Babe and it's repeated little verse of "Baa ram ewe". In the movie, Babe is a pig who is raised by a sheepdog and grows up to take on that role for a farmer. He is able to command the sheep with a little rhyme that begins "Baa ram ewe". When the sheep hear it, they follow his lead. If it wouldn't offend his Jewish sensibilities, Jesus was like Babe the pig. His sheep know his voice and follow him. Instead of listening to the "God damn you"s out there, they follow Jesus as he says "Baa ram ewe".

I'm reminded this time of year of the saving power of the risen Christ, the Good Shepherd who gave his life for his sheep. If we heed his call, we need not listen to the voice shouting curses at us. Even if we feel worthless, we have been saved from damnation and are not to believe the lies of the enemy. I want to encourage you, if you feel the constant cursing of God's damnation toward you, to cling to Jesus. Maybe you're haunted by something you've done or you've never given thought to God before but are afraid. It's true, there is ultimate damnation for those who reject him, but God doesn't want that; he's waiting to accept you. Just as there may be a voice out there calling for your end, another voice calls, "Come to me! Baa ram ewe!" And if you are a follower of Christ, I encourage you to remember the voice condemning you is not of God, but a desperate cry of a being whose damnation was sealed Easter weekend over 2000 years ago.

"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death." -Romans 8:1-2

Baa ram ewe! Baa ram ewe!
To your breed, your fleece, your clan be true!
Sheep be true! Baa ram ewe!

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