“What is, therefore, our task today? Shall I answer: ‘Faith, hope, and love?’ That sounds beautiful. But I would say- courage. No, even that is not challenging enough to be the whole truth. Our task today is recklessness. For what we Christians lack is not psychology or literature… we lack a holy rage- the recklessness which comes from the knowledge of God and humanity… a holy anger about the things that are wrong in the world…. To rage at the lie that calls the threat of death and the strategy of destruction peace. To rage against complacency. To restlessly seek that recklessness that will challenge and seek to change human history until it conforms to the norms of the kingdom of God. And remember the signs of the Christian Church have been the Lion, the Lamb, the Dove and the Fish… but never the chameleon.”
Kaj Munk, a Danish priest, spoke these words before he was killed by the Gestapo in 1944.
I’ve gotten really good at creating boundaries in my life that shield me away from doing or being anything that that could be called “reckless.” Because recklessness often leads to discomfort. If it doesn’t feel right, I’m great at finding away to avoid it. I’m not afraid of hard work and I’m confident enough in who I am to stand for things I believe in but, I rarely put myself in an intentional place of discomfort. I’d rather fade into the background like a chameleon.
The last time I journeyed through the stations of the cross, I was struck with the thought that if Jesus was doing ministry today he may have heard things like, “Why risk it?” or “Learn to say no” or even “You don’t need to be a martyr.” Things I often hear quoted to those in ministry. A mentor might say to him, “You need to create healthy boundaries or you will burn out.” His ministry all seemed a bit reckless.
This is not fun to admit, but when it comes to the crucifixion I’ve gotten to a point where I can handle the cross, the actual death part doesn’t seem to phase me as much anymore. It is the beatings and the mocking that are too much for me to handle. I hate it. In my mind, death I can do, but suffering is more than should be asked of me. It is more than should be asked of Jesus. Boundaries, Jesus, boundaries.
Can healthy boundaries and picking up my cross daily exist together? Can I sacrifice too much for the sake of those around me? Could Jesus have died without experiencing the suffering and humiliation of the thorns, the whipping and the names? What does that type of example mean for me today? I don’t fully know, but I can promise you I’ve never tested the limits of who God has called me to be.
It is doubtful that I will ever be in a place of such persecution or torment. it is doubtful that I will ever be killed for my beliefs. It is doubtful that I will enduring extreme suffering for what I believe. But, If I am ever called… May I have the courage to wear the thorns. May I have the courage to step in front of the whip. May I have the courage to take the mocking and the beating. May I do it all as a reckless Lion or a Lamb, but never a chameleon.