Accents and Impressions


Good morning Everyone!

“I’d never have been misled; I’d have known Jesus was the Messiah.”

I have to chase that thought away every time I watch a dramatization about the New Testament.

To help myself do that, I pictured Jesus speaking to the priests.  Jesus’ accent would have been the accent of a Galilean peasant, fisherman  or farmer.

To get some idea of how that would affect the ruling class, imagine you are in a large, prosperous church where the worship services are choreographed to the second (and I’m not being critical here; we all worship in our own way) and broadcast on television for the unchurched and shut-ins.  The choir has sung, the offering’s been taken, maybe even communion has been offered, and then, just as the preacher stands up to give the benediction and dismiss the congregation,  a man dressed in clean but run down clothes walks down the aisle and whispers to the preacher.  Surprised, the preacher looks out at the congregation, who can see the dilemma the preacher is in – should he let this man speak or does he keep the service on schedule ?  With a sigh, because he truly is a man of God, the preacher decides to take the high road for reasons even he can’t explain, and steps aside to allow the man to speak into a microphone.

Some in the congregation shift restlessly on their cushioned pews, ready to be gone.  Some are curious, trying to figure out what is going on.  Some are disgusted – why on earth didn’t that man wear nicer clothes?  Didn’t he know he was entering a church?  A few are hoping to see the Holy Spirit in action and accept any additional teaching God intends to share through this speaker.    The TV crew is tearing their hair out, the broadcast schedule completely shot.  Except for the rustle of church programs, a few shuffling feet, and some coughs, the sanctuary is silent.

The man begins to speak – and while his voice is melodious, he has the thickest country accent (stronger than Gomer Pyle) anyone there has ever heard, or an accent that comes straight from the toughest slums in the nearest big city.  He isn’t speaking “church lingo” (although he is learned enough that he could) but straightforward stories from every day life to tell his message.

How many of the people in that church would be able to get past the man’s accent to hear what he had to say, let alone understand it?  How many that made it past the accent could make it past the everyday, homespun stories? How many would feel that the man, with his shabby appearance and strong accent, was desecrating their sanctuary and making fun of them?   How many would be open to anything that man could teach them?  Who among them would be brave enough to leave everything they owned and follow Him simply because He asked them to?

Before I judge the people of Jesus’ time, I think I would do well to answer those questions about myself first.

Have a great day!

Nancy

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