THE LENT OF THE FREAKS
By Akin Ojumu
Among practicing Christians, March 6th marks the beginning of the Quadragesima celebrations. Starting today, Christians worldwide go into the Lenten season. In the next 40 days, religious Christians will try to re-enact the suffering, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
To many of these observant Christians, the Lent means different things. Some consider it another box to check on a long list of religious sacraments, others see it as that time of the year when a Christian gives an extra $1 of alms, has one less meat on his already packed plate of food, or adds “plus God minus devil” prayer to the litany of his early morning routine. For many, it is a period of afflicting the soul, bowing down the head as a bulrush, wearing rags and painting the face with ashes. It is a 40-day of pretend penance.
The real Lent, however, is none of those things. The Quadragesima is a season of reminder. At Lent, true Christians are reminded they are the Jesus freaks. And as freaks of Christ they ought to be atypical - untypical, abnormal - according to the world’s definition of the words typical and normal.
Real Christians are different...they ought to be different and the Lent is a time they are reminded of their difference. Although they live in this world, they are not of the world - this world is not their home. In this world, they are strangers, foreigners, sojourners who are just passing through on their way to a better place prepared for them in God’s kingdom.
The Jesus freaks match to a different tune and move to a different command. The Word of God is their command. They live by a different code and operate by a different standard. The standard of the kingdom of God is their standard.
The way of the freaks is not the way of the people of the world. Their charter is different, the charter of God’s kingdom is their charter. The Jesus freaks live the Jesus way. The pattern of their lives is fashioned after the life of their Master.
Their Charter is that which requires that:
- Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to
- He gave up his divine privileges
- He took on the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being
- He appeared in human form
- He humbled himself in obedience to God
- And that He died a criminal’s death on a wooden cross
The righteous freaks have been called to empty themselves of the emptiness of themselves. They are called to be filled with the fullness of God. The God freaks are called to love their enemies and do good to those who hate them. The freaks are those who, when slapped in one cheek, turn the other cheek. They lend and do not ask for repayment. The holy freaks welcome strangers, free those who are bound, and work to undo all the works of injustice. The poor, the hungry, and the homeless are the type of friends the freaks of God keep; they are eager to feed the hungry, house the homeless, and meet the poor at the point of their needs. The freaks give their all when asked for their all.
That is what the Jesus freaks do. That’s their modus operandi. It is their charge, and it is into this way of life that they have been called.
So, this season of Lent is a summon to remind us. It is a call to remember who we are and who we ought to be. We are reminded it is time to put off the way of the world and put on the mindset of Jesus Christ. It is time to think like Him again. It is time to see with the eyes of Christ. It is time to feel what he feels and how feels. And it is time to live the kind of life that Jesus lived here on earth.
The Lent is the time for the world to see we are indeed the followers of Christ - the freaks of Jesus Christ. This is what the Lent means to the freaks.