Tuesday, March 13, 2018

I've Got Your Back, Jesus!

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


I’ve Got Your Back, Jesus!

          Back on 2 March 2018, I was privileged, as one of our community and county’s police chaplains, to be a part of the promotional ceremony for Shane Woody to Chief of the Belvidere Police Department.

          Here’s a big part of what I said.

          I’ve got your back!

          We’ve all heard it.

          Essentially, it means, “I am watching out of you.  I am willing and prepared to help you, defend you, look out for you, and, if necessary, I will run into fires with you and for you.  I will support you without complaint.  I will be there if someone is trying to blindside you.  Your well-being is as important to me as my own.  I am prepared to sacrifice for you.  And, if necessary, I will take a bullet for you.”

          I’ve got your back!

          I talked about our police chaplains Adam Reardon and Brian Phillips who have pledged with me to run into fires and storms of conflict and danger with our Chief and Sheriff and all of our law enforcement officers in Belvidere and Boone County; for we follow Jesus who told us and showed us how to do that.

          Indeed, it’s in a sheepdog’s DNA; and every truly called law enforcement officer as well as truly called pastor or teacher or mom or dad or leader of any kind shares that passionate pledge.

          We live to take on predators and run into rather than away from the flames.

          We’re called to it/Him/everyone.

          I lauded the community and county for the uncommon chain of smooth and seamless transitions of pivotal leadership for the health, welfare, and safety of everyone; especially noting how, unlike DC and Springfield, we have moved with such peace and unity from Mayor Fred to Mayor Mike, Fire Chief Dave to Fire Chief Al, Sheriff Duane to Sheriff Dave, and Chief Jan to Chief Shane.

          I concluded, more than less, celebrating Shane having our backs and us having his.

          Of course, I also mentioned somewhere in there that there are lots of people who say that but don’t mean it.

          We know those advertisements from banks and even churches and especially those jesters in DC and Springfield saying they’ve got our backs don’t really mean it.

          It’s always been that way.

          Some folks don’t walk the talk, say what they mean, or mean what they say.

          Praise God for the exceptions.

          Praise God that in a world with so many sheep and too many wolves, we’ve got sheepdogs like Fred, Mike, Dave, Al, Duane, Dave, Jan, Shane, Michelle, Tricia, and…

          Jesus especially comes to mind.

          The folks lining the road down the Mount of Olives and up to the Temple Mount on that original Palm Sunday said they had His back; but they turned their backs on Him so swiftly and angrily as shouts of “Hosanna” devolved into cries of “Crucify Him!”

          They didn’t have His back.

          The first 12 were nowhere to be seen when He really needed them to watch His back.  They pledged allegiance when it was safe; but when the heat turned on and up, they scattered and caved with whimpers: “I don’t know Him.”

          They didn’t have His back.

          And somewhere in the distance from years ago when His back was stabbed with an affectionate and unifying kiss turned toxic, I hear a question that begs to be asked, “Is it me, Lord?”

          Have I turned my back on Jesus?

          Let’s see.

          Rather, let’s assess what He sees.

          Do we turn our backs on Jesus in public?

          Do we have His back at those town halls and school boards and…?

          How about those youth sports meetings when games are scheduled during Sunday morning worship hours?

          Do we have His back then?

          Or do we turn our backs on Him because it’s…?

          How about those times when people are texting during a funeral or wedding or…?

          Do we turn our backs on Him because we’d rather…?

          Do we talk one way in Sunday School and another way when we’re with fraternity brothers and sorority sisters and…?

          Do we have His back always or some times or rarely or…?

          It’s so crucifying to turn our backs on Jesus.

          Ah, yes, history does have a way of repeating itself.

          Pero let me tell you about one shining moment in my experience when people who really love Jesus had His back.

          I was President of Rock Valley [Junior] Tackle Football.

          Most of the games, over the years, were played on Sunday mornings.

          Then Alvin from Northwest and another brother from Booker came to me and said this: “I know Sunday mornings and worship aren’t that important to white people; but for black folks, it’s the most important time of the week.  So if you don’t mind, we’d like your help to stop scheduling games during our worship times on Sunday.  Besides, we know what you really believe and figure you can help us out on that!”

          Knowing a little about process and another Robert’s Rules of Order, we got the job done because of the faithful African-American community in Rockford.

          I love to tell that story.

          It can happen.

          There are really faithful people in this world who do have His back…and ours as having His; for we know He taught us to love Him by loving each other like He loves us.

          In other words, we’re supposed to have each other’s backs.

          Obviously, gloriously, eternally, He has our backs.

          That’s what He’s all about.

          That’s what people who really believe in Him are all about.

          You’ve heard it before.

          You can tell more about a person by what she/he will die for than live for.

          Such beautiful words.

          I’ve got your back!

          He did, does, and always will have ours.

          Pero there’s that other question begging to be asked.

          Let’s frame it this way in His words that He backed up: “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses His life because of Me will find it.”

          Then Jesus delivers the punch line about backing up: “What will it benefit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his life?”

          I’ve got your back!

          He does.

          While I may be wrong, I don’t think we can end with that.

          Something about faith without works/signs/proof/evidence being…

          Let me put it another way.

          Knowing we’re going to live forever one way or the other, we better back Jesus.


Blessings and Love!


Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!



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