Saturday, April 12, 2008
Don't know whether to laugh or to cry...
Or...I dunno...maybe Jesus' face is pink because he just got embarrassed by this, as some vocal Christians tried to shut down a Hindu religious leader's invocation in the Senate:
I'm continually amazed that people really believe that God needs our "protection." Sounds like righteous hubris to me. Any time we approach God with a "Yo, JC, lemme get this one; I got your back. Let me straighten these fools out..." kind of peer-to-peer attitude with God, we should stop in our tracks. It's usually a sign that we're about to do something (at best) dumb, or (at worst) destructive.
UNLESS–and this is important–that protection we're offering is for the hungry, the outsider, the sick, the weak, and we're addressing God's presence within that person, and humbly trying to get them the things that they need. And we know about those needs because we have extended ourselves, taken the risk of truly listening even though that person might smell bad/like the wrong TV shows/be sinful(!)/see things differently than we do.
That's work that genuinely needs doing. There's no shortage of it, either. Maybe, once everyone's safe and sheltered and clothed and fed–maybe then we could sit down together with a loaf of bread and a glass of wine and argue doctrine?
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
That's Matthew 25:31-40. Nothing at all in there about purity, about doctrine, about the "right person" bearing or receiving God's message. Time and again in the Gospels, Jesus wants us to recognize God's presence within our neighbor. Much of the time, it's a neighbor outside our regular circles. Jesus models it, he preaches it, he suffers for it.
Why is that so hard for us? Why do we continue to believe that we have to get somehow Certified that all our doctrinal/dogmatic ducks are in a row before God can act through our lives? Holy cats, if that were true, God would have been on the sidelines since 32 A.D.
Let's try to keep our eye on the ball, people, huh?
As our Hindu brother in the video clip would say, Namaste.