Matthew 19 & 20 – The World Turned Upside Down

Those on the bottom will be on top and those on top will be on the bottom.

I’ve read those words several times in the last few days and I find them to be powerfully appropriate to Good Friday. In a few hours, I’ll be joining with our Episcopal and Presbyterian neighbors to remember the night that Jesus died with hope towards the day when what seemed to be a final action was turned into a new beginning. What had always been – death having the final word – was no longer. In Jesus, the world was turned upside down.

In the musical Hamilton, the song Yorktown references the story of Cornwallis and his soldiers singing an old song called “The World Turned Upside Down” as they surrendered to the American forces effectively ending the Revolutionary War. How could this upstart army defeat the British? The world turned upside down.

But in the story of Jesus, not through force of guns but through force of love and grace, the world has been turned upside down. The rejected were welcomed. The outcast accepted. Forgiveness extended. The prodigal embraced. Meals shared with the “unclean.”

But as I type this, I can’t help but continuing to pray about how the church continues to need to turn the world upside down. When our world seeks to divide, we need to seek to unite. When the call is to hate, we are called to love. When we are tempted to turn inward and focus just on ourselves, Jesus points us to reach out. When we want to protect what we have because of a perceived scarcity, Jesus shows us an abundance. When everything around us screams, “Be afraid”, Jesus reminds us, “Do not fear for I have overcome the world.”

The world turned upside down. Jesus help me to live in that upside down way.

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