Friday, October 10, 2008


So today I discovered Wordle. It makes word clouds out of text you put in. The size of each word is determined by its frequency in the text. I put in the entire Gospel of Luke, and this is what came out.

I also put in the Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew 5-7.

I find this fascinating. The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus' thesis statement, his basic teaching about life. The biggest words in the word cloud (and therefore the words he says the most) are God, Father, Heaven, reward, good, kingdom, one, body, blesses, give, pray...

What is Jesus about? Are we in the church concerned about what he was apparently concerned about? Are we saying what he said? Are we thinking about what was most on his mind?

I said the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus' thesis statement. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe his thesis statement is what he begins his ministry in Luke with, by quoting from Isaiah 61:

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor."

Jesus says this scripture has been fulfilled, with and in himself.

So I put in Isaiah 61, in it's entirety. Here's what came out.

The biggest word is "Lord". No surprise there. But the second-biggest is "instead". Think about that. Beauty instead of ashes. Gladness instead of mourning. Instead of shame, a double portion. Instead of disgrace, an inheritance. Praise, instead of despair.


At the heart of the gospel is a great reversal. The Bible is chock full of it. The first will be last. The younger son is chosen over the older. Lazarus the beggar was poor in life, rich in death. The reverse for the rich man. A nation of slaves walks out of a nation of chariots. God lives in a tent made of manatee-leather. Blessed are the hungry, the meek, the merciful. Blessed are the poor instead of cursed are the poor. Woe to the rich instead of lucky are the rich. Instead of hating your enemies, love them. Instead of a lecture, the prodigal son gets a party.

Instead of us getting what we deserve, Jesus did.

Instead of succumbing to sin and death, Jesus lived again.

Instead of condemning us, he saves us.

So choose to live in the land of Instead. Instead of worrying about money, live like there is plenty. Instead of holding grudges, forgive your neighbor. Instead of putting money first or sex first or power first or family first or country first, seek the kingdom first. Instead of being filled with wine, be controlled by the Spirit. Instead of fear, be full of love. For perfect love casts out fear. Do what nobody expects. Instead of keeping your life, lose it.

And instead of dying, you'll live.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

that's awesome! thanks for sharing. ( I couldn't get the links to come up)