“That’s what Christians are supposed to be doing…”
This is the phrase a non-religious friend of mine said when we were talking yesterday. We were talking about ways to tackle homelessness and I had the opportunity to share with my friend what the good people at St. Stephen Lutheran Church were undertaking – doing ministry over at the Flying J – making sure people had access to showers, laundry, and food. We spoke for several minutes about some other opportunities we were considering and the many possibilities that existed to make an impact in the lives of people who needed help – including getting people connected with resources and professionals that could help them.
That’s when my friend said those words that caught my attention.
And revealed something insightful to me as well.
How are we Christians known and what are we known for? Are we known because of a sect of Christianity that seems more concerned with aligning with political power – if so, then we have our focus in the wrong place. If this is the most important thing that we Christians do, then there is something seriously wrong with our Christianity and with our faith.
I don’t buy the notion that Jesus died for our sins so that we could align ourselves with one or the other political party in the US in the 21st century and treat our political opponents in a very non-Sermon on the Mount way.
The old hymn says that they will know we are Christians by our love. Not by our politics. Not by our fear. Not by our separating people into us and them. Not into our allegiance and loyalty to a party, politician, or nation. By our love.
Love acted out. Love that this lived out.
It is time for Christians to act like Christians again. Let me alter that – there are many Christians who do live out their faith and love. They just don’t get the attention that many other Christians do who are more interested in making stupid comments about how we shouldn’t vaccinate our kids or that God is punishing some portion of the country through disasters because we don’t hate homosexuals enough or other such nonsense.
They will know we are Christians by our love. They will know we are Christians by the care we give and offer the poor and outcast. They will know we are Christians by using what we have been giving to help those in need. They will know we are Christians by how we feed people. They will know we are Christians by how we value people – all people. They will know. Why?
As my friend so eloquently stated – “That’s what Christians are supposed to be doing…”
It’s just so obvious. It’s obvious to someone who isn’t even a practicing Christian that this is what Christianity is supposed to be about. Why isn’t it obvious to practicing Christians?
As we heard in our Gospel lesson from this past Sunday – Jesus said. “The time has been fulfilled. The Kingdom of God has come near.” The time is now for us to act like Christians. God’s Kingdom is at hand.