A story is told about a missionary preaching to a tribe of cannibals. Things were going fine for the first couple of weeks. They had accepted him into their camp and he felt like he was really starting to make some headway. Then one day it all changed! The missionary wasn’t really sure exactly what happened. Perhaps he had committed some social taboo or made a grave error in translation, but at any rate, he had angered the whole tribe and things took a quick turn for the worst. That night as he lay in his tent, he heard the sound of war drums and off in the distance he saw torches. So he did what any of us would do! He ran! His speed unfortunately was no match for theirs and he tripped over a vine and found himself surrounded by the angry tribe of cannibals who quickly bound him and placed him in a large pot of water over a roaring fire. Not knowing what else to do, the missionary looked up to the heavens and beseeched The Lord to intervene!
“Lord,” He prayed, “If it be your will, I pray you would make good Christians of all this heathen tribe of cannibals!”
Suddenly, in the night sky, the clouds parted, and a great shaft of light fell on each cannibal assembled there. One could hear the faint strum of angel hearts as, one by one, each cannibal knelt in the earth and made the sign of the cross. Then, each lifting their eyes to the heavens, they began praying in unison:
“Bless, O Lord, this food which we are about to eat…”
A more pc version of this humorous parable can be told with a preacher and a bear but the truth remains. Real faith in Jesus Christ fundamentally changes our nature. As scripture reminds us: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (1 Corinthians 5:17) Becoming a Christian means a radical change in our behavior and thinking. Jesus criticized religious leaders who were pious on the outside but inwardly were “ravenous wolves”. He called them “white washed tombs” and criticized their practice of washing the outside of the cup and leaving the inside full of grime. As people of faith we must constantly be challenged by these words. We are called to be more than simply cannibals who pray before we devour one another!
Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear…