I used this video clip in a message this past Sunday as a parallel mataphor centered on Luke 16:19-31. What first comes to mind when you hear the word “Ebenezer”? For me, it’s Ebenezer Scrooge, and it’s not positive. I think others might have a similar response.
Check out this intro of Scrooge as written by Dickens himself:
“Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days, and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas.”
How are Christians viewed? The video clip contains a man-on-the-street interview from www.crazychurch.com that would indicate it may not be all too different from Scrooge.
Upon further reflection, however, I’ve come to realize that Ebenezer Scrooge is actually the poster-boy that lives can change! The words “Ebenezer” and “Scrooge” should bring to mind someone who is generous, gracious and joyful – the same which should be seen in followers of Jesus Christ. We who have been shown such lavish grace get to reflect that same grace to others around us.
But it gets even better! There is a major difference between A Christmas Carol and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Scrooge is really a story of someone earning a second chance at life. Christianity is all about a God of the continual second chance because of who Jesus Christ is and what he has accomplished on the cross and out of the grave.
A friend of mine shared at the end of the worship service this past Sunday, reflecting on the joy his daughter displayed returning to her seat after receiving a blessing and some candy during our time of communion. As shown in the face of his daughter, and echoing the word of Scrooge, he exclaimed, living fully in the grace of Jesus Christ: “I don’t deserve to be so happy . . . but I can’t help it!”
God bless us, everyone.