Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Most Radical, “Impossible” Love

“Hello there, Mr Clary. I’m Reverend Wade Watts. I just want to tell you I love you and Jesus loves you.” [And after being abused by Mr Clary...] “God bless you, Johnny. You can’t do enough to me to make me hate you. I’m gonna love you and I’m gonna pray for you, whether you like it or not.”[1]

—Reverend Wade Watts, speaking to Johnny Lee Clary (then Imperial Wizard of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan) as related by Clary.

How does a criminal mind deal with such radical love as the Reverend Watts demonstrated to Clary? That was only the beginning of the journey that Clary and Watts were to take together; now Clary has the utmost esteemed respect for the minister who went way beyond where many a minister would go.

He demonstrated not a worldly courage that’s immediately transparent here; he went a world beyond simple courage—he went the narrow way of Jesus’ radical love which almost no one can understand, let alone pursue—other than the person anointed to bear his or her cross for their master.

Now, many folk use the word “radical” far too flippantly. Radical is radical—it’s out there and it’s hardly known to us in our real experience, yet we recognise its power when we see it, even though we hardly ever, if ever, use it.

I wonder if this is indeed the sort of standard we’re to practically aspire to. I have no doubt about that and nor should you. Yet, most of us practice a plastic sort of Christianity that goes far enough only for looks purposes. In this, our faith doesn’t transcend who we are in flesh—it doesn’t take us beyond ourselves into the hearts and minds of other people; people who need the breath of God breathed right into them like Johnny Lee Clary did.

It’s a scary fact—there are many seriously “bad” people who need the Lord Jesus. We should know; we were among them. Indeed, we know how inherently bad we can be. This is not to deride us—it’s simply the truth.

Reverend Watts was the real-life epitome of Clary’s Lord, stepping into the heavenly realm to breach a serious disorder of hellish magnitude; he stepped right into the depths of hell on earth in order to scoop him out. Even having his church burned down didn’t stop the Reverend! (It probably simply fuelled his love!)

Now look at what Johnny Lee Clary’s doing (and indeed, done) for God! Praise God for the Reverend Wade Watts (and for others like him).

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

[1] Andrew Denton, Enough Rope (Episode 93) – Show on 5 September 2005. Retrieved 9 November 2009. http://www.abc.net.au/tv/enoughrope/transcripts/s1453904.htm

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