Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Jesus Goes Shopping


The cardboard Jesus is an exercise in living their faith and "taking Jesus Christ with them everywhere," said the Rev. Steve McElroy.Earlier this year, McElroy had talked to about 20 middle school and high school students in his church about the challenge in living as a Christian.The discussion became more real when the pastor showed up with the cardboard cutout and asked the youth group if they would take Jesus with them any time they were together."It's one thing taking Jesus around local places. It's more difficult to be a public Christian when you're hauling him through the mall crowded with shoppers," Pastor McElroy said. "It's a good test."Some of the teens admitted they felt self-conscious fear about meeting people they knew in the mall. Paige Toney, 14, of Davis City and Tylea Rippey, 14, of Leon were mortified at that thought.When it was their turn to shepherd the cutout around, they took Jesus to sit by the fireplace at the food court."If the person we meet is a teacher, it would be OK," said Toney.Her brother had a explanation for anyone he knew, "I'll just tell them our pastor made us do it," said Colton Toney, 12, of Davis City.Except for one woman who "wrinkled her nose up" at Grayson McElroy, 14, and Brady Kelsey, 11, both of Lamoni, "people stared at us, but mostly they smiled."And the group didn't have to buy a ticket to get Jesus into the theater."Jesus gets a free pass!" Kelsey said.The group thoughtfully propped Jesus up to one side of the theater so the cutout wouldn't block anyone's view.After seeing the movie version of their savior's birth, the mood young people was much more somber than when they were shopping, McElroy said.Perhaps they better understood their pastor's purpose with the cardboard Jesus."It's a chance to show people we are Christians and we're not embarrassed about it," said Agnes Ansong, 16, of Lamoni."We want people to know what we believe in and that we take the Christmas season seriously."


So would you carry Him?


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