I live in Pennsylvania. What’s normal in PA is the Philadelphia Eagles!
I brisk walk Valley Forge National Park on a regular basis. I know the trails and where George Washington lived for a time. Normal.
If you ask me about a favorite treat that’s unique to our area, I’d tell you it’s water ice. Very common. And delicious!
These are common elements that make a normal life just outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In Israel, I walk along the Nazareth Ridge. To my left, a drop. Looking beyond the ridge to the horizon, I see Mount Tabor, the easiest landmark for me to get my bearings across the Jezreel Valley. This is a common view for Jesus.
Jesus was a kid on this ridge. He ran along this route, and his mama told him to slow down and be careful. Joseph pushed back, “Let him be. He’s a boy!”
“Yes, and I’d like to see him become a man. Slow down, Jesus!”
He toddled around learning from his father the characteristics of basalt stone.
He scuffed His knee and was teased.
Jesus sweat and accidentally tore his tunic.
We know Jesus didn’t come primarily to be a model, but instead to be our savior, but my point is one of those realities that falls into the “Jesus as model” category.
I can’t help but wonder how many people we have right under our noses, doing very normal things, whom God has called and commissioned to light up the world!
We’re not talking Messiah here. We’re talking about transferring the first-century normal to today:
“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” (Matthew 13:55)
“Can any good thing come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46)
I wonder how many normal people around us will set the world on fire?
They have acne. They argue about women in ministry. They come from broken homes. They go on vacations and give up careers, and puke and sing and sweat.
I pray we open our eyes, stay alert and be ready to speak life into any “normal” man or woman who, though apparently average members of our families, our congregations, and communities, show glimpses of an inner flame. The ones for whom God takes what’s normal and makes it extraordinary.
I’m real because God is so real.