Thursday, March 24, 2016

And They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love?

What follows is inspired by my sermon for the people of Word of Hope on Maundy Thursday 2016.  The inspiration for this comes from John 13:35.

"By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

In my sermon tonight, I posed the people listening to ask themselves a question as they move throughout Good Friday tomorrow.

"If someone who didn't know God saw you, would they know that you were a disciple of Christ?"

And this, of course, got me thinking.

Would anyone who saw someone who professes to be a Christian, know through them the same radical and crazy love of a God who becomes flesh and blood and washes feet and dies?

 And the answer, quite frankly, is probably not.

And I can already hear your righteous indignation.  So I'm going to ask you to put that aside for just a minute and truly think about this.

Would anyone who didn't know God, look at your life and experience through you, the radical love of God?

Honestly.

I can say that most people who look at me probably wouldn't.

And it's not because I have tattoos.  Or because I swear.  Or because I've known to have a beer or two.  Or because I'm gay.

But it's cause I'm materialist.  I'm selfish.  I'm often scared.  I, too often, put people in categories of "us vs. them."

I'm white.  I'm male.  I'm cisgendered.  I'm abled.  I'm in that sweet spot of being neither too old nor too young.

And while all of those things do a good job of getting me ahead in the fallen world, they don't really help people experience the God of the oppressed through me.

And how many Christians do you know that fit into similar categories?  And in their lives, do you see God's presence?

(Tangent - this is why a white Jesus isn't saving anyone.  That's a post for another day though.  Or just read James Cone, he says it better.)

And not just in our bodies, but also in how we act.

Do we talk to people who are homeless when we see them?  Do we go out and feed the hungry?  Do we work to support justice for all people?  Do we give more than we spend?

Do we love others in a "let me wash your feet" kind of way?

Do we love others enough that we would, without using violence, be willing to die for them?

Do we love others enough to let go of the power we as the majority have held for two hundred years so that others can have a seat at the table?

Do we live in a way that says "I love you the way that Christ loves you.  And I do this because I know Christ loves me like that too,"?

My gut.  No.

Some might.  But Christians as a whole?  Not a chance.

So let's stop kidding ourselves.  Let's stop calling ourselves Christians.  Or Jesus freaks.  Or followers of Christ.  Or disciples.

Cause we're not.

I'm not say we can't be. But we aren't right now.

So let's confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.  Then let's humble ourselves enough to let Christ wash our feet.  And then humble ourselves even more to start washing the feet of others.