Unexpected twists.

I told Nancy I was going try to write 300 words.

“Three,” she said. “Zero. Zero. W. O.”

That’s my kind of straight line. Which she seldom crosses.

11026291_10153256922952008_8326601046100600869_nI smiled. Partially because she gave me the beginning of this essay. But mostly as a reminder that human beings are unpredictable.

We waste huge amounts of energy predicting what people will do and waste enormous amounts of emotional energy when we are wrong. We help people and don’t receive any gratitude. We do everything right and get scolded. We mess up a project and expect to be fired.

Jesus ended up in the middle of those situations. He lived them, he talked about them.

For example, he told about a runaway son who came trudging home, expecting to sleep in the barn.

He met a young man who did everything right, expecting to be embraced.

He talked with a paralyzed man who described his immobility, expecting to be consoled.

And then the twists in the stories came. The runaway son was welcomed with open arms and a feast. The young man was told to sell everything he had. The paralyzed man was told to walk. No condemnation for confession. No acclaim for perfection. No “that’s too bad” when healing was at hand.

Nancy and I both laughed when she played with expectations. I’m not sure that Jesus was as happy to turn expectations upside down, like moneychanger tables in the entry to the prayer place. If anything, I’m guessing that he lamented the time wasted in speculation rather than conversation, in self-righteous pleasing rather than simple obedience.

Though his death and resurrections were about more than making us think, his life was exactly that. By teaching and living the teaching, he was attempting to engage the disciples in relationship.

He still is.