In Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s story, Through the Looking Glass, Alice finds herself before a looking glass – an older British word for mirror – and curiously, she finds that she is able to crawl through into the world on the other side. Now in the world of the looking glass, everything is upside-down. All the rules are backwards. The clocks run backwards. People write backwards, people speak backwards. It’s a topsy-turvy, upside-down world.
The gospel is the looking glass through which we enter the upside-down world of the Kingdom of God. In the Kingdom of God, the first will be last and the last will be first. Those who give away their money will have true wealth but those who hold on to their money will become impoverished. The way to fullness is to empty yourself; the way to true happiness is to mourn and weep; the way to greatness is to serve. If you hold on to your life, you will lose it, but if you lose your life for Jesus, you will gain it.
It’s a world that seems absurd and ridiculous...but then the cross seems foolish to a world that is perishing. For the gospel is not only Jesus saving us, but a pattern of life he sets before us. For he said to his disciples, “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”