What Would Love Do?
Have you ever seen those bracelets WWJD? I hate those things. It’s a bit like having a fish sticker on your car (which seems to give you a license to drive badly and abuse people on the road…. I could be generalizing here.) WWJD, if you didn’t already know ….. stands for What Would Jesus Do.
Poor Jesus he gets blamed for everything.
It’s better not to wear any badges advertising your intent….. it’s much better to prove our beliefs by living them to the full.
One thing that Jesus was great at doing was loving people that didn’t love him return.
I don’t know about you but that opportunity arises quite often… and its usually most inconvenient.
Several years ago an old friend called me out of the blue asking for help. Not only was it inconvenient but his request was one that I initially considered un-doable (on my part).
Robbo and I became friends in the late 70’s and after a few months of jamming we (along with a few others) formed a band called Night Owl. We played together off and on for about 6 years and through all the failed tours, the bad management and agent deals, our ‘contact’ with the local constabulary, the near death experiences….. sometimes our friendship was all we had.
Somewhere in the mid 80‘s the band plays its final encore and we gradually drift out of each others lives. Late 1984 I had a God experience and moved across to the other side of town to attend bible college for the creative arts. A few years after that I am ordained as a minister of music and then….. after a few more years (1993) I move to LA.
Early this century (I love saying that) I was preparing to travel back to Australia to perform and speak at a conference for a Church organization. Unbeknownst to me Robbo had moved to a town near by and had read in the local paper of my up coming visit. So, he calls my parents, has a ‘long time no see’ conversation, gets my number in LA and calls up. It was great to hear his voice, talk about old times and catch up a little.
Finally Robbo says “hey Chris you’re a Priest now right?”
I have been called worse.
I said kinda…. I knew what he meant. A priest is as good as any other name…… I guess.
“Well I heard you were coming over to speak at a seminar” says Robbo “and I wanted to know if I could see you and maybe you could help me with something.”
He then explained a little of his situation. He had eventually married, hoping to settle down and raise a family. His wife had a few kids from a previous relationship and they had a son together. (I knew that this son…. Robbo’s first child would be a huge part of his life now). Well the marriage had not lasted long, the relationship between ex-husband and ex-wife was far from amicable and they were trying to raise their son together somehow.
Neither Robbo or his ex carried strong religious beliefs however they both thought that their son should be christened.
It’s funny really how people are about these things….. like christenings, church weddings…… Sometimes I think people who don’t think they are religious…. are….well …. quite religious.
“So when you come over can you Christen my son…. You are a Priest…… aren’t you?“
That indeed is a great question and worthy of a blog on it’s own….. but for another time.
Well I fumbled an explanation…. “I am not really a priest…… well I guess I kind of am (loosely speaking)…… and I’m not really of the Christening faith….. but I could give a prayer of dedication over your son…… and over you and his mother….. if that would be of any help?”
“Yeah…. yeah… sure that sounds great…… What do your charge for this kind of thing?
What do I charge? I had never done one before!
Could this be a career move? Could I sell Cd’s?
I explained that I didn’t charge anything but that I would appreciate a favor in return. “I’ll come down to your place to pray for your son if you would come with me afterwards to help me in a little concert I am doing at the conference.”
Robbo quickly agreed without considering what he was actually saying yes to. (I will write about the concert another time)
One the big day, awaiting us at his beach house were a handful of his friends ….. and the ex-wife and her family and friends. The battle lines had been drawn.
Though the ex-wife is wanting this religious ceremony for her son I am still Robbo’s friend and so therefore I am from the enemy’s camp….. and I can see that I have a lot of work today.
At that moment I feel most unwelcome. Beam me up Scotty.
So I move around, shake some hands and say lots of hellos…… but I get very little in return. Every one’s so tight lipped….. not even the weather is being discussed.
So I break the ice (so to speak) by becoming the barman and asking “Well who wants a drink?”
Pouring champagne for all the adults and coke for the kids provided me an opportunity to be a giver…… of something everyone wanted…… (me too!!!!!).
The barman is the new priest anyway. You stand behind a bar and people will start talking. I don’t know why but it’s a universal law. Soon I am chatting and laughing with everyone and even Robbo and his ex and sharing a joke.
I remember seeing a lot of pain in the eyes of Robbo’s ex-wife. But she was lovely, and she didn’t know it and I kept thinking…. Robbo, are you crazy….. get back together with her you fool.
I also remember telling her how well groomed, polite and fun her kids were. It was like Christmas for her. Somebody actually saying something nice.
I was only there a few hours but I remember this celebration as one of the greatest times of learning to love people.
People are so responsive to honest encouragement. I had nothing to gain by making them feel good. I had no Church for them to come visit. I just had this un-shakeable love for them. I didn’t want to leave. But two hours was all I had and now I had to get back to the conference.
In dedicating Robbo’s son I asked all the adults to gather around me and to share in this blessing and prayer. I don’t think there was one believer amongst them, but everyone was happy to help me speak over this young one’s life. At the end of the prayer I noticed a lot of teary eyes….. even amongst the men.
As I bade my farewell there were hugs and kisses all round.
I was no longer an enemy.
I’m thinking of making a T-shirt that says “What would Love do?”
What do you think?