The upside down world is this strange place where the powers and principalities no longer have control over you to assert their worldview, priorities or expectations. In the ancient world, Paul wrote to a people oppressed by a power that shaped every image of the world they encountered. It was engraved on their money, carved into the archways of their streets, lifted up as the salvation and hope of peaceful and abundant life—the power of caesar, the wealth of Rome was their god.
Paul re-imagines for the people of Colossae a world that is liberated from the oppressive powers of Rome, that is a world where Jesus is Lord. Jesus, who willingly relinquished power and control in his act of love, exemplified the upside down world where the last come first and the poor are lifted up.
This week at Open Door Church, we looked at relationships through the eyes of Jesus and the upside down world. From our cultural perspective, you may win points, have the upper hand of an argument, give a little so you can take a little, push to sway the power dynamic just slightly in your favour; but in the upside down world, Jesus actually asks you to give without expectations of return.
In fact, he completely turns the power dynamics upside down as John recounts him washing the feet of his disciples. Yes, the disciples that hang on his every word, that called him ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, that paddled the boat while he slept below. One by one, amidst their refusal and horror, he kneeled at their feet, washed them with his hands and dried them with his cloak. In a beautiful act of role reversal, Jesus taught us to give—not take—in our relationships. This changes the dynamic. It rejects the status quo. It liberates us from the need to “win” when we can love like Jesus.
Enjoy these words from Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski to encourage you this week in your own attempts to live in the upside down.