I recently blogged about the outsiders: a group of people who do not fit into mainstream society. As an ex-single person, I remember being an outsider. As a childless person, I am still an outsider. As a creative, I have always been an outsider. Christians are definitely outsiders too.
Today we explore another facet of outsiderness, courtesy of last weeks’ Hillsong Worship & Creatives Conference. It was a place for a whole bunch of outsiders to get together, praise God and encourage one another. It was three intense days of singing, listening, standing in queues and staying up late.
Was it worth it, I hear you ask?
You see, I got a new perspective on being an outsider. Outsiders are typically looked down upon, sneered upon, excluded from the broader community. Outsiders are chronically out of place. Outsider do not fit. Society has no room for such people.
Jesus, even before he was born, had problems fitting in. His parents could not find a place to stay. They wound up sleeping with the animals. They were definitely outsiders that night.
They were outsiders because there was no room for them. They didn’t fit anywhere.
They were outsider because there was no room for them.
Jesus began life as an outsider and things didn’t get any better for him. He was a precocious child, spending time in the temple, getting lost, freaking out his parents. He did not exactly conform.
Then came Jesus’ ministry years. He was the chronic outsider. Popular with some people, yes, to a degree, but most people left Jesus in the end. Other people mocked him. They called him crazy, blasphemous, demon-possessed.
Jesus connected with outsiders, dined with social rejects, defended the powerless. Jesus made people mad. Some people wanted to stone him. The authorities wanted to kill him. Beloved by all? Accepted by society? I think not.
Jesus connected with outsiders.
The world still rejects him. Jesus’ legacy lives on. His teaching is hard, forcing us to choose for or against him, leaving no room for maybes. Plenty of people choose to reject Jesus. An outsider he remains.
This ought to be good news for those of us who are creatives, single, childless, or outcast by society for any other reason. Jesus was an outsider, just like us. Jesus knows what it is to be excluded, different, weird, hated.
And yet, Jesus is loved by God. So are we. Whatever we may be going through, however we may feel about our social standing, God sees us. God knows. God understands. We are not alone.
Jesus is loved by God; so are we.
Was conference worth it, just for that one gem? Well, there were many gems offered during the course of the conference. This was merely one of them. But if this had been the only gem on offer, my answer would be that the conference was completely worth it.
Just to know that Jesus, the outsider, stands with the outsiders.
Do you have a story of being an outsider? Do you think God uses outsiders? How can we embrace the advantages of outsiderness, rather than trying to fit in?