Imagine what could be
September 16, 2013
by Pastor Joe Midthun, All Saints Lutheran Church, Darwin

My father-in-law recently purchased an electric car. I’ll be honest; I’ve never really been a fan of electric, or even hybrid cars. I understand the necessity for them, and can appreciate that, but deep inside, probably because I grew up around cars, I want a car that meets certain criteria.

My criteria for a car includes power, handling, and versatility. The problem for me with so many electric and hybrid cars is they can do some things well, while totally lacking in others. I suppose you could argue all vehicles compromise in one way or another, but for me, the idea of going 80 miles on a charge or pushing my foot down and feeling 90 horsepower just doesn’t do it.

For this reason, or maybe because my father-in-law was trading in his Porsche 911, which he let me drive from time to time, I got a bit down.

Fast forward a few months, and the delivery of his new all-electric Tesla Model S. I was hesitant, but after checking out the car and even driving it a bit, I realized instantly this car was not lacking in power, handling, or versatility. It was like nothing I had ever driven before – different, and still, a car. I was sold.

I asked the lady at the dealership how they had achieved so much. Her response was simple, and yet complex; “Well, we’re a new car company and instead of taking a current model and putting a bunch of batteries in it, or having an electric motor and gas engine, we started from scratch and went from there. Instead of asking how we could make it work with what we had, we imagined what it could be, and then we made it.”

Since I was very young, I’ve always assumed a car should be made a certain way, or have certain characteristics. Interestingly enough, this is exactly what many of Jesus’ contemporaries believed about the Messiah.

They believed the Messiah was to come and be a new earthly king. He was going to restore Israel and rule with power. He was going to look like David or Solomon.

But, Jesus came and redefined everything. He showed his love not through strength, but through weakness. Jesus imagined that love wasn’t about power, but sacrifice.

As people of faith, whether Christian or something else, we are called to re-imagine the world we live in. Culture will tell us to take care of ourselves first, and our neighbor if we have time. Christ, however, tells us to take care of our neighbor first.

This is radical, but maybe we need to let go of our ideas of how we think things are supposed to work, and imagine what they could be.

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