Let Jesus Toss You!

A blog by Neil Hart on…ummm….stuff… and the Lutheran Church of Australia.

Ok. Too much sex talk on this blog. I thought I would share a chapel sermon I gave to about 250 year 8,9’s (13/14 year olds) and then, and hour later, to about another 200 year 10. 11 and 12’s  (15-17 year olds). This was in my pre-depression, innocent and heady college chaplaincy days (circa 2006).

And, reader, sadly, this is a true story. I thought i would put it in print so that I never, ever forget.

…sigh…

I love Lord of the Rings. I love the battles. I love the stirring speeches of Kings and leaders of men.  I love the acts of heroism. Here is one memorable scene from The Battle for Helms Deep. Gimli the Dwarf, stubborn and proud, and Aragon battle to defend the gates. But before they do, they must jump across a wide gap. It is too far for the dwarf to jump..

You’ll have to toss me! But don’t tell the elf!

Ahhh. pastors, chaplains, senior high teachers…doesnt that get your creative juices flowing? Can’t you imagine the special, intimate teaching moments that can come from such a statement? The proud dwarf must humble himself before he receives the help he needs.

I showed the clip to the two groups and then talked about “humility to ask”.  Like Gimli the Dwarf sometimes WE are too proud to ask for help. Sometimes WE are worried about what others will think of us if we admit our short comings. Asking for help is hard to do when we are all pumped up with pride. We walk around as if everything is ok when inside we are scared and our charade of bravado gets harder and harder to pull off. That’s when we need to humble ourselves. That’s when we need to ask for help.

Yes reader…back in the day I was QUITE the orator. I don’t remember if I used those words exactly but it would have been something like that. I then would have pointed the students to the resources of their family, their friends, their teachers…anyone who could help them . Finally, I pointed them to Jesus who is always available. I know that I  closed my messages with the words.

“If you ask, He will help. Let Jesus toss you”

You know when you have connected with an audience. You know it from the absolute silence in auditorium. You know it because every eye is locked on you… what you are saying is far more important to them than any distractions.

Reader, I know that it’s all about them and not about me at all, but, i gotta tell you, It felt GOOD! I know that’s a little self-serving but I admit it. IT felt GOOD!

After the morning chapel services were over I cleaned up and went to the staff room. The Head of Middle School (the 13/14 yr olds)  and a senior teacher were at a table talking. But their conversation ended abruptly when they noticed that I had come into the room.

Awkward silence.

My relationship with both of these people was solid enough for me to ask the question…

“Everything OK guys?”

The senior teachers spoke…

Let Jesus TOSS me? LET JESUS TOSS ME???!!! What were you THINKING?

It was bad enough when you showed the clip from the movie. Every teacher in the room knew that it was coming and every teacher stood at the head of the rows of students  staring daggers and pointing at the students that had started to snicker and nudge each other. But, we got through that ok.

Then…your message!

You said  “TOSS ME” nine times!  NINE TIMES, Neil!

Somewhere in her speech, I’m not sure where but, somewhere, a cog in my brain clicked over and realisation came that, perhaps, there was another meaning to the words…”toss me”, a meaning well understood by 13-17 year old high school students.

and Jesus said…”He who exalts himself will be humbled…”