Big gulps & following Jesus

Michael Frost recited a poem (from memory!) by Adrian Plass during one of his talks at the 2011 Sentralized conference.  I’ve been looking for the words and finally found them.

I’m not in to poetry by a long shot.  But when Frosty read this, all eyes in the entire place were glued on him.

I love this poem because I think it represents what is supposed to really happen when we meet The Christ and answer His summons to follow Him, wherever that may lead.

I think about this thought a lot, being that our country makes it pretty easy to follow Jesus and not face too much persecution.  Ridicule, at the most, is what we might face on any given day.  But we can always retreat to the comfort of our safety nets, be they friends or church buddies.  What if it became increasingly difficult to really live how The Rabbi teaches us to live, here in the good ole U.S. of A.?  Did Jesus not know that someday the Kingdom of God would lead to societies where practicing resurrection life would be accepted and normal?

The call that Jesus of Nazareth has on our lives should be one we approach with trepidation and lots of caution.  Like a good king counting the cost of waging war {Luke 14:25-33}, we are to count the cost of following Jesus before we start walking.  Following Jesus should include a big gulp before that first step.

Well, don’t let my ramblings take away from the reason for this post.  Dig in and eat this stuff up.  It’ll give you something to think about for a while.

When I Became a Christian
by Adrian Plass

When I became a Christian I said, Lord, now fill me in,
Tell me what I’ll suffer in this world of shame and sin.
He said, your body may be killed, and left to rot and stink,
Do you still want to follow me? I said Amen – I think.
I think Amen, Amen I think, I think I say Amen,
I’m not completely sure, can you just run through that again?
You say my body may be killed and left to rot and stink,
Well, yes, that sounds terrific, Lord, I say Amen – I think.

But, Lord, there must be other ways to follow you, I said,
I really would prefer to end up dying in my bed.
Well, yes, he said, you could put up with the sneers and scorn and spit,
Do you still want to follow me? I said Amen – a bit.
A bit Amen, Amen a bit, a bit I say Amen,
I’m not entirely sure, can we just run through that again?
You say I could put up with sneers and also scorn and spit,
Well, yes, I’ve made my mind up, and I say, Amen – a bit.

Well I sat back and thought a while, then tried a different ploy,
Now, Lord, I said, the Good book says that Christians live in joy.
That’s true he said, you need the joy to bear the pain and sorrow,
So do you want to follow me, I said, Amen – tomorrow.
Tomorrow, Lord, I’ll say it then, that’s when I’ll say Amen,
I need to get it clear, can I just run through that again?
You say that I will need to joy, to bear the pain and sorrow,
Well, yes, I think I’ve got it straight, I’ll say Amen – tomorrow.

He said, Look, I’m not asking you to spend an hour with me
A quick salvation sandwich and a cup of sanctity,
The cost is you, not half of you, but every single bit,
Now tell me, will you follow me? I said Amen – I quit.
I’m very sorry Lord I said, I’d like to follow you,
But I don’t think religion is a manly thing to do.
He said forget religion then, and think about my Son,
And tell me if you’re man enough to do what he has done.

Are you man enough to see the need, and man enough to go,
Man enough to care for those whom no one wants to know,
Man enough to say the thing that people hate to hear,
To battle through Gethsemane in loneliness and fear.
And listen! Are you man enough to stand it at the end,
The moment of betrayal by the kisses of a friend,
Are you man enough to hold your tongue, and man enough to cry?
When nails break your body-are you man enough to die?
Man enough to take the pain, and wear it like a crown,
Man enough to love the world and turn it upside down,
Are you man enough to follow me, I ask you once again?
I said, Oh Lord, I’m frightened, but I also said Amen.
Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen; Amen, Amen, Amen,
I said, Oh Lord, I’m frightened, but I also said, Amen.


You get more about Adrian Plass here.


About Brian Swanson

Christ follower. Screw up. Stained with grace. Ruined by Jesus.
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3 Responses to Big gulps & following Jesus

  1. WOW!! Really puts things into perspective. Yes, as Americans the ability to be Christians is easier then other countries. We don’t have to hide our bibles, walk hundreds of miles to get to a church, meet in secret or face imprisonment for being a believer. I also think that sometimes that freedom makes me complacent. It makes me take a back seat in my ride of faith. I find I have to push myself to step out and make a difference. Joining WCC has made that journey a little easier. Being involved in a mission based church and one that focuses on helping others makes me stretch myself. I still have a long way to go but I hope I get there. Thanks for your posts. I always find them so insightful and they make me think and push myself to do better!

  2. Josh says:

    I’m getting this poem tattooed on my back.

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