- Pastor John Smith
Mardi Gras Musings
I have to admit something.
There was a part of me that didn’t want to return.
24 hours prior to writing this, I was on the streets preaching the gospel and evangelizing the lost in New Orleans.
During Mardi Gras, I had moments of the miraculous, saw people come to Christ, witnessed as the Word confounded and silenced the wisest of men, endured persecution and had my heart closely knitted to a team of twelve dozen radical saints all who shared the same mentality regarding missions, “if we perish; we perish.”
Someone asked me right before I left to New Orleans, “Why do you go to Mardi Gras?” Admittedly, it does seem rather odd for a Christian to go to such a place that is known for its debauchery, drunkenness, and immorality. In other words, Mardi Gras is a proverbial hell on earth.
And that is precisely why I needed to go there.
There are a couple of Scripture passages that I always cling to when I go to Mardi Gras and one is Acts 18:10, “for I have many in this city who are my people.” Even in the darkest, most wicked of cities, God has a people that he has chosen from the foundation of the world to save (Eph. 1:4). Christ shed his precious blood and died for people that attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans and that news must be shared.
Which leads me to my next passage found in the book of Romans,
“How then will they call on him whom they have not believed? And How are they to believe in him whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Rom. 10:14).
It is a very simple concept: People need to believe in Jesus and how are they to believe if they aren’t told about him? That is why the Apostle Paul concludes, “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:16). The people of New Orleans needed to hear the word of Christ and praise the Lord, many believed in his name.
But I am not in New Orleans anymore. I am in Cashmere and attempting to get back to “normal” life.
Perhaps I should give it a few days to settle my angst but I cannot help but ask as I look ahead, preparing myself for the routine, “is this really normal?”
Eating three square meals a day.
Scrolling through my social media feed.
Typing emails. Answering phone calls.
Busying my time with so many things that in all honesty, don’t really have any eternal significance.
Again, is this what normal life is about?
When I study the book of Acts, early church history and the lives of men such as Whitefield and Wesley, what I come away with is something very similar to what I experienced while on mission.
There is a heightened sense of the presence of God and more of a reliance on the Spirit. Additionally, there is an otherworldliness in the proclamation of the gospel which often results in persecution. Ask yourself when is the last time you were spat at, kicked or had your life threatened because you opened your mouth to tell others about Jesus? Also present is a deep unity among brothers and sisters because you don’t have time to argue and bicker when there is a world to reach for Christ.
In other words, this looks like New Testament Christianity.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are times and seasons for everything and in life, there are things you just have to do. Phone calls need to be answered. Business needs to be taken care of.
Yet, generally speaking, does what we experience as “normal Christianity” match what the New Testament considers “normal”?
Or is there is a disconnect?
The reality is, we don’t have to go “on mission” to experience a profound unity among believers, an otherworldliness in gospel proclamation or even more of a reliance on the Holy Spirit.
We can have it right where we are at.
Honestly, I don’t really know any other way than to believe the Bible and put it into practice.
Like New Orleans, there are a people that God has in this community, let’s go reach them with the gospel and share the love of Christ.
Let’s be on mission right here at home.