>Slapping the Gorilla

>One of my favorite pop culture references is the Fonz “jumping the shark.”  For those that don’t know, during a later episode of Happy Days, Arthur Fonzarelli was water skiing when, at just the right moment for drama, a SHARK came towards him.  So logically, he just jumped over it. As if years of fish hadn’t figured out that move already.  Most people point to this moment in the show as its downfall, the moment it became so ridiculous it was a parody of itself and completely useless.  In later years, this phrase has been challenged by “nuking the fridge.”  If you haven’t seen Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, watch the first ten minutes and you’ll understand.

One of my students recently began another class (History, not Bible) by proclaiming “Mr. Bishop (not me, the History teacher), have I ever told you what I want to do to a gorilla?”  Now, there are an infinite number of possible phrases and ideas that could follow that set-up, and every single one of them is hilarious, especially given the particular student involved.

His plan was that he was so annoyed by the fact that gorillas seemingly just sit around, he wanted to run up to one and slap it as hard as he could, then run away.  Of course, in this scenario, the gorilla is wearing a heavy-duty shock collar AND there is a small army with tranquilizer guns trained on the poor primate, but thats neither here nor there.  The point is, the kid wants to SLAP A GORILLA FOR FUN.

This is not the first time something completely ridiculous and incomprehensible has come from this young man this year. Nor will it be the last I suspect, and there’s only 3 weeks left. He’s that good.  But it got me thinking: What happened to my creativity?

I’m involved on our chapel planning team, as well as teaching bible, and Abby and I are beginning a new venture at church within the next couple of weeks (stay tuned!), so the outlets are there.  But for some reason, something as gloriously brilliant as gorilla slapping hasn’t crossed my mind.  When I think of high school and college and all of the fantastically idiotic/entertaining things I did, it makes me nostalgic and frustrated with my current self.

Paul states in Philippians 4 that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him.  This attitude led him to nearly die multiple times, to jail, to foreign countries, and to immense amounts of suffering and inconvenience.

I want that attitude. I want to have such a strong faith in Jesus that I have the confidence to slap a gorilla, or at least do something bold for my Lord.

“Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!”  Mark 9:24



>Easter is always a fun time of the year.  Aside from the ridiculous amounts of candy, the costumes–er, outfits that people wear to church on Easter make it worthwhile almost by themselves. One of my students described a crocodile leather/peacock feather combination that makes me long for time travel so I might witness its beauty with my own eyes.  Easter rocks.

I do have to admit, for purely selfish reasons, Easter is also great because we get Good Friday off.  Any day off from school to recharge my frayed battery is welcome.  Good Friday–the moniker, not the actual holiday–has always bugged me (whats so good about torture and death? Can’t we go with Necessary Friday or Cross Friday or something?) and so not having to teach on Good Friday was a blessing in disguise.  I actually started to cringe everytime I said Good Friday…just seems wrong to me.

Of course, Sunday is also a fantastic day.  My favorite scene in The Passion of the Christ is the end, when Christ rises as the stone is rolled back.  It’s a beautifully done scene, and after watching it the first time in the theaters I was ready to charge into the abyss for God.  It is a powerful reminder of just how amazing the gift of our risen Savor really is: God fought death and won, and He did it for me. Praise His name!  I’m glad the world still shuts down to recognize such an important day in our history…we haven’t completely lost control of Easter yet. (Although there’s something inherently hinkey about the name “Easter” and everything that goes into it…it’s a pagan holiday honoring a Christian miracle. But that can be another post.)

What I realized while planning my Easter summary for class is that we seem to have forgotton one of the days.  Christ died, was in the grave for three days, and rose again.  We got the death, we got the resurrection, but what about the third day? Or in this case, the second day? What about Saturday?

Very little is known about Saturday. We know its a Sabbath day, so there wouldn’t be any work (this is why the women went to the tomb on Sunday…they couldn’t on Saturday) but other than that, we don’t get much detail, even from Luke the master storyteller and reporter.  So what happened on Saturday?!

I can only imagine what Jerusalem must have been like on the day after. There are two groups of people; disciples who aren’t quite sure what hit them and Jews who aren’t quite sure what’s coming. 

The disciples have spent the last three years following this man, hanging on every word, every action, and have developed the faith and courage to say that He was the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior of the world.  They’ve left jobs, hometowns, families, wealth, everything and followed this man, and now He’s dead.  He said He would rise on the third day, but that had to be a long twenty-four hours, wondering if they’re going to be the next to die, to be beaten, to be crucified.

The Jews think that they have won.  The nuisance that has threatened their precious heirarchy is dead, the rebellion seemingly squashed.  However, at the moment Jesus died, some incredibly weird things happened: the dead rising from split open graves, earthquakes, the temple curtain being torn from top to bottom, storms.  Something doesn’t seem right about this “victory.”  They know the rumors as well, that Jesus was going to raise Himself from the dead on the third day, and so they’re sitting there, enjoying a potentially short-lived triumph.

Two groups, both unsure about what comes next, sitting…and waiting.

I think that is why Sunday is such a day of joy.  The fear, the apprehension, the chaos of Saturday leads into the unbridled joy of Sunday and our risen Lord.  Terror turns into happiness, sadness into joy, and defeat into eternal victory.  If we had a little more apprecation for Saturday in our lives, I think we’d be able to appreciate Sunday that much more.

“He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.”  Matthew 28:6