Thursday, March 30, 2017

Image result for mutton busting

Recently I saw one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time--"Mutton Busting."  In the world of professional rodeo, this is a standard event for children, a way to introduce the next generation of steer wrestlers, barrel racers, and cattle ropers into the fold.  A child that can ride a lamb will one day ride a horse or a bull.

The object of mutton busting is simply to hold on!  A young child is placed on the back of a sheep, he or she grips the soft wool tightly, and the animal is sent skittering across the arena.  The winner is the one who can stay on the back of the animal for the duration of the journey.  Of the fifteen or so riders I saw, most took a tumble before the ride was over.  It's quite a wild ride for a youngster!

Something about the image of a child on a lamb caught my imagination.  The small fingers buried deeply in the wool.  The total commitment to hang on as the sheep led the expedition.  I had a quick vision of a life committed to Jesus.  The Lamb of God is on a mission and we are holding on tightly, going where he wills.  The ride can feel bumpy.  The landscape flies by in a blur.  We can feel out of control.  But what a thrill, what an adventure!

The image of holding onto a wild Jesus reminds me of another animal reference.  Susan and Mr. Beaver have a conversation in Narnia about Aslan the lion.  "Safe?" said Mr. Beaver ..."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good." (C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe).

Jesus is the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God.  And he's very good.  But a life with Jesus is an unpredictable life.  Jesus leads us into places in our soul perhaps we would rather not go.  Jesus leads us into the world to show the world his goodness and his love.  To follow him feels sometime like hanging onto the back of a careening lamb.  It may not feel safe.  But the journey is good.

"'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."