The Real Thing!

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I once had a Reformation History professor who had been around for a while, and had collected for himself a huge library of resources and artifacts that made him the envy of many of the other professors around him, the object of the adulation of most students. I too, was duly impressed. “Now that’s the real thing,” I thought to myself. And so for three years, he was something of a hero to me. He was always well dressed, carrying the most elegant briefcases and with books that we all knew to have been fully absorbed by him, but looking brand new, virtually untouched. This man was clearly, the quintessential professor. In the final year of my program, I saw an elderly man, sitting outside the dormitory, brushing and polishing his shoes. He was dressed very casually, and I wondering what he was doing there. As Head Resident, I felt as if I had to find out if he needed anything. As I approached, he simply said, “Didn’t want to make a mess inside.” “Ok,” and went about my business, assuming the old guy would leave on his own eventually.

Later that night, I sat in the jam-packed auditorium of our college, awaiting a lecture from one of the world’s foremost experts on Reformation History, Roland Bainton, Professor Emeritus of Yale University. As he emerged and was introduced, I was startled that it was the shoe polisher from that morning. I remember feeling unimpressed. His suit looked a couple of sizes too big, and very, very out of fashion. That said, he shoes did seem to be quite shiny.

And, then he came to the center of the stage, and put his hands behind his back and began to speak. No podium, no notes. He just began to speak, and what flowed from him was an utterly brilliant command of a period of history that has occupied the minds of scholars for centuries. Here, before me, in that moment, I saw true brilliance. None of the peripherals or that accoutrements that seemed to have been part and parcel of expertise and brilliance up until that very instant. Here indeed, was the real thing!

This weekend, we explored Christ’s Kingship and what it means, seeking to rid ourselves of the preconceptions and embracing the truth of what it means that Christ is our King, and that we are called to be a part of His Kingdom.