I stopped by our sister hotel tonight after work to deliver a piece of wedding cake to my friend and (soon to be) fellow seminarian, Matt. We had hosted a renewal of vows ceremony earlier that day, and I was made distributor of several pieces of confectionary goodness. As Matt and I chatted and set up a time to hang out in the upcoming days, a guest walked up. I knew from the moment he opened his mouth to order a couple of Coors Lights that it was going to be an interesting conversation.
“The table isn’t real. And the chairs aren’t real. And all that is isn’t real. You see, people, when they die, they don’t go nowhere. They stay right here.”
“You know, I’m leaving Kentucky tomorrow and nobody here’s heard my story. I was up in Milwaukee since 1977 and I took a house and blessed it in the name of God. And I made it famous. But I burnt it all up in the ashes and rubbed it all over my hands.”
“My name is Magnificent. And I was up in New York City and I was blessing houses in the name of God and burning them all up to pieces. And we needed a name for it all. And so we picked something people would understand. God. G-O-D.”
Feeling compelled to say something here, but rather stunned and entirely unsure how to respond.
Magnificent: “When I was in California, I drove to Milwaukee with a whole bunch of wood. It was about this big (gestures about the size of a bumper sticker) with the words ‘God Bless This House’ written on it. Kept it for a long time. And I burnt it to pieces and made it all ashes. And I blessed 37 houses up in Milwaukee in the name of God.”
Me: “Uh, well…uh, what do you mean when you say God? Who is God?”
Magnificent: “Whoa man, that’s deep. That’s really deep.”
Me: “Uh, yeah.”
Silence. Jesus. You need to tell him about Jesus.
Magnificent: God is just, well, we needed a name for me, something the people would understand. So we picked God.”
Me: “The Bible says that Jesus Christ is God. And no man comes to the Father but through Him.”
Magnificent: “Yeah, well Jesus is around here somewhere.”
Me: “No man, Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father because he died and then rose from the dead.”
Magnificent: “But the stones. There were the stones. Well I was burning to ashes, and all over the newspapers. And I was up in Colorado. And California. But I burnt them all to pieces back in 1983.”
Me: “Well, I’ve been on the front page of espn.com before and–”
Magnificent: “Have you been on the front pages in Mexico and Africa and all over the world?”
Me: “Nope. But I’ll tell you this, Magnificent, those papers are gone and done. Jesus Christ, he’s on the best selling book in the history of the world. And he’s the only one who’s truly Magnificent. You feel me, brotha?”
Magnificent: “But those papers–”
Me: “No, man, best selling book in the history of the world, brotha. Best selling in the history of the world. You feelin’ me?”
Magnificent: “Well…yeah. Yeah, man. All right, man, all right. I feel ya. I feel ya.”
And away he walked with his two Coors Lights, leaving two seminarians scratching their heads in bewilderment and wondering who on earth they just told about Jesus.
It is good for the righteous to rejoice in the destruction of the wicked.
It is not good for the righteous to rejoice in the eternal damnation of one made in the image of God, undone by his own wickedness cooperating with demonic deception.
It is good for the righteous to rejoice for living in a country that stays the course in punishing evil and restraining oppression.
It is not good for the righteous to identify this as proof of any inherent goodness or favor of God upon our nation, for we are a people who tolerate the legalized murder of far more innocents than Osama bin Laden ever killed.
It is good for the righteous to mourn for the death of one who, by all appearances, did not possess saving faith in Christ.
It is not good for the righteous to be wish the wicked long life, for it is good and just for God to remove the wicked oppressors from the earth.
It is good for the righteous to practice restraint regarding proclamation of the eternal resting place of the dead, for fear of immanent death is a mighty evangelist.
It is not good for the righteous to muddy the waters of salvation before the world by constantly repeating the refrain “we don’t know where he is.” Osama is dead and is where he is. You are not, and still have influence over which father you will follow, and whose inheritance you will receive.
It is good for the righteous to rejoice in the greater protection America will now receive from terrorist attack.
It is not good for the righteous in America to be myopic and think that protection from terrorist attack is the primary purpose of God. The wicked do not fall to secure our comfort, the wicked fall to pave the way for the progress of the gospel. And the progress of the gospel will usually demand the unraveling of our comfort.