Tending Your Little Spark
Wisely, the majority of us keep our little spark under a bushel basket safely hidden from the puritanical police of societal respectability. Society does issue special licenses to be mad to artists, musicians, inventors, poets and others, but these arty licenses don’t protect their users from ridicule. When French impressionists displayed their paintings for the first time in 1874 they were judged for their “shear madness,” yet today’s galleries pay millions of dollars for a single one of these rare masterpieces.
While the world values creative folly, it strangely fears and yet simultaneously reveres the terrible kind as observed by the poet Alexander Pope, “The worst of madness is a saint run mad!” We venerate “sane” saints like Mother Theresa of Calcutta who wear religious clothing while caring for the poor. The risky insane saints do not dress up in respectable religious garb to daringly live out the Gospel running madly in the footsteps of the Loony Rabbi of Nazareth. “Loony”?—that’s sacrilegious!
But he was judged to be insane! Take away his halo and look honestly at his outrageously crazy behavior. Inspired by his small spark of madness he walked off his job as a carpenter to tramp the countryside breaking social & religious rules. He ate and drank with women, synagogue dropouts and societal scabs—tax collectors. He taught radically crazy ideas: always forgive; never be violent or seek revenge; never think angry thoughts; loan money without hope of being repaid; love those who hate and do harm to you. Not surprising then that when gossip of his bizarre behavior and teachings reached his family, they came to seize him saying, “He is out of his mind!” (Mark 3:21).
So daily prayerfully huff and puff on your little spark of madness so to dare to live the teachings of the Mad Messiah…and people will think you’re out of your mind!