Holy Scripture gives us a pretty clear image of what our God is doing in this world. From Genesis to Revelation we see the motif of changing places. Switching roles. The rich and powerful are being brought down and the poor and weak are being raised up. God is turning things upside down. It’s Freaky Friday to the max. It’s Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd in Trading Places without the gorilla costume and the one dollar bet.
The way the world is right now — all the power structures, all the people in charge; all the people in the streets, all the oppressed; people without a care in the world, people who are trapped in hopeless cycles of despair — our God is working to totally flip it around. He’s working even now toward a great big ultimate opposite day.
The Psalmist can sense it: “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes.” ~Psalm 113:7-8
Hannah feels it: “The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more.” ~1 Samuel 2:4-8
Mary, the mother of Jesus, knows what the coming of the Christ means: “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.” ~Luke 1:52-53
And when the Messiah does finally arrive, we find him preaching and teachig the same thing. Trading places. Switching spots: The poor in spirit get the kingdom of heaven, those who mourn will be comforted, the meek get the whole earth, those who hunger and thirst will be filled.
He traded places with you, you know. He pulled you down off the cross and climbed up there in your place. The ultimate Freaky Friday. It was your cross, not his. It was your sins, not his. And he switched with you. You were dead, but now you’re alive. You were lost, but now you’re saved. You were bound for an eternity without God, but now you’ve been re-routed to an eternity in his holy presence. You were God’s enemy, but now you’re his friend. By God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, you have been lifted from the ash heap and raised to reign at the right hand of the Father forever. A never-ending opposite day!
I really thought the Rangers had the best of both worlds: Nolan Ryan as the most respected baseball man in the state of Texas, probably the entire southewest region, and perhaps even in the country, giving the Rangers concrete credibility in all matters baseball; and Greenberg as super fan-friendly, media-savvy, wonderfully likeable, perfect sound bite, get things done money man.
Either way, it’s still better than what we had.
Erasmus ridiculed the group in society he labled “praisers of all things old.” I admit I’m generally in danger of falling head first into that category. Especially when it comes to sports. I despised the play-in game on Wednesday night that a few years ago tainted the sanctity of the 64-team NCAA basketball tournament. We completely ignored it at Stanglin Manor, refusing to even acknowledge it in our brackets. But what am I supposed to do now with this First Four stuff?!? We can easily put an “X” under Ohio State and Pitt as the top seeds will destroy either of those 16s in the mix. But we have to do something now with those elevens and twelves. USC probably has a chance against Georgetown. Clemson can probably give West Virginia a good game. We can no longer just pretend it’s still a 64-team field. It’s not! Have you counted the number of 14-loss teams in the tournament? It’s ridiculous. It’s as bad as taking four teams to the high school football playoffs out of six team districts. It’s like having 35-bowl games. When does it stop?
I’ve got Carolina, Duke, Purdue, and Florida in my Final Four. The Tarheels beat the streaking Gators to capture their one shining moment.
Just don’t bet on it.