And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves
Matthew 21:13 (KJV)
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you abide in My love.
John 15:9 (NKJV)
This Sunday’s message took on Andrew Sullivan’s recent Newsweek cover article, “Forget the Church. Follow Jesus.” The minister’s contention was that Andrew Sullivan got it wrong. Personally, I’m not so sure. In the article, Sullivan argues that “Christianity has been destroyed by politics, priests, and get-rich evangelists. Ignore them,…and embrace Him.” Before you write me off as a lunatic, please hear me when I say I have not walked away from either my faith or my church. I’m just asking this question, would Jesus be welcomed in your house of worship?
A couple weeks ago I was following a “conversation” on FB. The question was posed whether or not unwed mothers (among others) should be allowed to hold leadership positions in ministry. What most concerned me was the tone, and I laughed to myself when one poster suggested that Mary, Mother of Jesus, would be turned away and perhaps also the Lord Himself?
Whoa, what are we doing, folks? Christians aren’t perfect, we are just forgiven; saved by Grace. And since God saw beyond our faults to meet our needs, shouldn’t we be sharing that same Grace? When did it become more about exclusion than welcoming all who would come?
There will be those who say that Christians must stand for something, and I don’t disagree. I’m only pleading that our memories will be long for what we receive (Grace) and short for what we give (judgment, condemnation). Could we focus more on sharing the Love of God? Here is what I know, Jesus commanded us to love one another as He first loved us. There is much more to the Gospel, but in this, perhaps Andrew Sullivan has a point….has religion taken us away from the simple truths Jesus taught, and we need to go back.
In closing, Sullivan speaks of Christianity Resurrected,
This Christianity comes not from the head or the gut, but from the soul. It is as meek as it is quietly liberating. It does not seize the moment; it lets it be. It doesn’t seek worldly recognition, or success, and it flees from power and wealth. It is the religion of unachievement. And it is not afraid. In the anxious, crammed lives of our modern twittering souls, in the materialist obsessions we cling to for security in recession, in a world where sectarian extremism threatens to unleash mass destruction, this sheer Christianity, seeking truth without the expectation of resolution, simply living each day doing what we can to fulfill God’s will, is more vital than ever.
That’s what I want…faith that is “meek…(and) quietly liberating.” It resonates with the peaceful warrior growing in my soul. That is who I desire to be, not necessarily a member of a church (though I am) but known as a member of the body of Christ. First. Solely. My affiliation is an afterthought if I can be known as one who strives to be like Him. That’s all I desire. Let’s commit to being Christ-like. Quietly liberating someone from suffering through a faith filled life. A faith lived, not professed. Quietly. Quietly liberating faith-a new discovery, but one very much in line with where I am g(r)o(w)ing right now. Growth….today’s reminder that God is good.