Pastor's Blog

An Upside-Down View

An Upside-Down View

Pastor Adrienne - January 1, 2024

I got an inversion table for Christmas! I know it may sound like a strange gift, but that’s what I asked for! If you are unfamiliar with inversion tables, it is a cushioned table that you can lie on and flip back so that you are almost or completely upside down. It is helpful in creating space in your back to encourage good spinal health. It was recommended to me by my chiropractor a few years ago.

My brother-in-law put it together for me. It looked like 100 pieces were scattered all over the floor! After it was assembled, I got to try it for the first time. I wedged my feet in the foot straps and swung my arms back, as you are instructed to do. I had to push myself the rest of the way until I was 90 degrees upside down. Blood rushed to my head, and I was hanging by my feet! It was definitely a new experience to see things upside down. Other than a few short-lived headstands and some rollercoasters, I realized that I’m really not upside down very much. I could only stand it for 30 seconds!

While I was hanging upside down one day last week, I started to think about the phrase that “Jesus turned the world upside down.” It is not to be taken literally. Since the earth is round, every point is right side up. It is meant metaphorically to suggest that Jesus inverted all of the values of this world and most importantly, our expectations about God. Jesus turns our thinking upside down.

God sent Jesus to help us get our orientation right, to turn back to God, to clear up a few things that had gotten distorted over the years. In thinking about Jesus’ teachings, they are challenging to live out. Many people had difficulty accepting what Jesus said, and many people had difficulty accepting what Jesus asked them to do.

The values of the kingdom of God were totally new to his listeners, and even though we may be familiar with the teachings of Jesus, they are new to us. The call Jesus puts on our lives is total and intense. Honestly, it is uncomfortable, and maybe can only be taken in small doses, much like hanging upside down on an inversion table. Yet, as Christians we are called to live into the inverted world Jesus calls into being.

For example, the world says riches are important. Jesus says the poor are blessed. The world tells us to care for ourselves; Jesus says to care for others. The world says ‘why care’? Jesus gives us hope to live and make the world a better place. The people looking upon Jesus on the cross said, “If he is the Son of God, why doesn’t he save himself?” The truth is that Jesus came not to save himself, but to save us.

These values can be challenging. As I am going to keep working on spending more time upside down on my inversion table, I will also continue to think about spending more time in the discomfort of those values and directives that Jesus gives, hoping to grow in God’s kingdom!