I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the Church lately – what it means for Americans versus the rest of the world; what our buildings and practices say about us as a people; the people who come into our buildings versus those who do not. Spend two seconds on Facebook, and you will conclude that we are a very “issue-driven” group right now. Don’t misunderstand me – issues are important. Politics are important. Our response to these issues is important.
But I think of greater importance is the way we who claim His name represent Christ. We like to talk a lot of Jesus’ “righteous anger” when he turned over the tables in the temple, but I think we conveniently forget that His anger was directed toward those within the church who were exploiting the poor. They were making a mockery of worship.
When Scripture shows us Jesus’ dealings with the sinners, outcasts, and the marginalized of society, we see a completely different picture. He had a meal with Zaccheaus. He asked the Samaritan woman for a drink of water. He washed Judas’ feet. Jesus treated all people with dignity and respect. He loved them, listened to them, cared for them. He was their friend.
Frankly, I think Jesus would be disappointed at the way we do Church. Rather than focusing on building bigger, better, shinier, newer, I think He would have us bring in the unloved, the unwelcomed, those who look, smell, act, think differently than we do. We cannot show them the love of Christ and throw our stones at the same time.
While maintaining our theological convictions is extremely important, and using our collective voice to bring about political change is an important aspect of our government, we cannot forget that these “issues” represent real people with real souls, people who are hungry for the truth and love found only in the Cross.
And they will never hear about that love if all they hear is our anger.