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Where Would Jesus Be?

August 19, 2016

Once again the world has been stunned by a single image of a little Syrian boy who has fallen victim to Syria’s horrific civil war.  It isn’t the first time.  Remember the heart-rending picture of the toddler’s lifeless body being brought to shore following a failed attempt to flee?  I doubt this will be the last such picture.  The war has claimed nearly 500,000 lives and an estimated half of the nation has been driven from their homes.  Recriminations as to whose is at fault are flying, as are suggestions as to what should be done; none of which are free from the risk of making things worse.

I don’t have any answers that make sense but the whole matter has me pondering a different question.  If Jesus was to have come to 21st century Syria instead of 1st century Israel where would he be?  I suspect he would be in Aleppo.  He would be hanging out with that little boy and all those around him, the lowest of the low.  He’d be eating with them, healing them, accepting them as they are, treating them with dignity, loving them, probably only rarely preaching at them.

Perhaps, if had come to today’s America, he’d be walking with a Black Lives Matter protest making it clear they matter to Him.  Or he might be weeping at the funeral of a slain police officer.  Or maybe he’d be sitting with a working class white family in the rust belt when the bread-winner had just been laid off.   Perhaps even with the desperate poor coming across our southern border in the hope of a better life.

I doubt he’d be sitting in one our mega-churches; or hanging out in our seminaries.  If he was, I can’t help but think that he might tell us the same things he said in Matthew 22:37-40: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”  (ESV)

He’d be telling us that these two commandments are to guide the shape of our lives; both individually and in our church communities.  We are called to love God and to love others … especially those most in need of love: the poor, the sick, the oppressed, the powerless, and the displaced.

There has always been one thing about our faith that troubles me.  If the Bible is true we who are filled with the spirit, though we are imperfect, should be visibly different from non-Christians in the “world.”  We’d be light and salt in way that ought to be visible, maybe even obvious.   And this should be more pronounced the more devout we are.   Putting it another way; on average, we’d be visibly more loving, more gracious, and more humble.  Are we?


From → Christianity

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