THIS WHOLE RED CUP THING? IF YOU ASK ME? I TOTALLY THINK IT WAS A MANUFACTURED CONTROVERSY.
Because when I looked around at my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ while this was all going down? None of them were up in arms. Like, literally, none of them.
For good measure I looked at my Facebook newsfeed. Nobody there was upset either. Which is odd because, as well all know, if there is one place that anyone is going to talk about the things that offend them most, it’s social media.
Christians, let’s talk a moment though, for serious.
I saw so many individuals, myself included, deride the person or persons behind this whole mess for something so utterly ridiculous. If you are like me, you were probably also irritated at the thought of one or two “christians” giving the rest of us a bum rap.
AND YET, I WONDER…
I made a trip to the grocery store earlier this evening. I bought steak to make a nice dinner for my veteran. Stella Artois beer to drink. Fresh asparagus to sauté. I took my two youngest children into the store with me. It was raining. I was tired and it had been a long day – the usual.
Once we made it through the store and back to the car, we were pulling out. of. the. parking lot. when I realized that I had forgotten blue cheese. Which is silly, because I was going to make blue cheese encrusted filet mignon.
Sooo…back into the store we went.
I carried a carseat across the parking lot while I gritted my teeth and bared my head down into the lightly falling rain. I was so annoyed. So irritated. So offended.
The thought didn’t occur to me until I got back into the car….
Brothers and sisters in Christ, those who were truly not offended by the Starbucks cups, whatare we really offended by? If you’re like me, you felt the tiniest twinge of satisfaction in knowing that you were in no way any part of the controversy over this…
I can’t be bothered to be worried about a cup, you might have thought, I’m only concerned about things that are actually worth being concerned about.
And yet how many things in our day-to-day lives, if they were stripped away or went wrong, would suddenly offend us?
How many proverbial red cups can you find in your lives? It might not have been the ACTUAL red cups this time, but how many things that aren’t really things shake you to the core on a regular basis??
If the car decides not to start. If we have to stay at work a few extra hours. If the kids wake us up during the middle of the night. If we get stuck in traffic. If the cable or internet isn’t working. If dinner is taking too long to arrive at our table at the restaurant. If our pants won’t button. If the opposing political party is elected next year. If our kids come home with too much homework. If our friends post things that irritate us on Facebook. If we don’t like the way the church fundraiser is being organized. If our home doesn’t look like the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog.
I can tell you that almost three quarters of those things are things I have allowed to ruin my day, cause a fight between my spouse and I, shout at my children, throw a shoe across the room or distort my view on how well my life is going. I am very ashamed to admit that.
And they aren’t even really things.
For me, the thought that I was annoyed that I had to go back into the store to get extra garnishment for the filet mignon I was able to buy without worry stopped me right in my I’m-not-offended-in-the-slightest-about-a-red-cup tracks.
The apostle Paul wrote letters to the fledgling churches in Rome and Ephesus. A place that owned slaves and treated them as worse than subhuman. A place allowed pederasty and where citizens left their unwanted infants in the rubbish heap.
A place that was TRULY offensive.
I have to wonder what would have happened had Paul or John allowed their offenses over such depravity cling to them. Surely such ongoing things would have made the skin crawl on even the most agreeable or steadfast person.
I’m not saying that we should not distinguish right from wrong. I’m not saying that there aren’t things that happen in our lives that are significant or hurt us or cut us to the quick. There are things that will shake us and will bring us to our knees.
But may I be found broken over the things that are worth being broken over, choosing to love anyway, in all the ways that I have been loved when I did not deserve it.
AT THIS TIME OF YEAR, WE CAN REJOICE. BECAUSE EVEN AMIDST DARKNESS AND DESPAIR, HOPELESSNESS AND BROKENNESS, CHRIST SAW FIT TO ENTER IN. TO ENTER INTO THIS WORLD. TO ENTER INTO OUR LIVES.
If Jesus can be born in a manger, and lay with stinking farm animals and bleed on a cross to remove our offenses? Then there is absolutely no greater hope for us than that.