It’s the journey, not the passport.
Saying’ Jesus is Lord’ is more than a passport, it is a journey. The notion that ‘Christians are better than…’ or those songs that go ‘You made me whole…’ seem to miss the point of our humanity. Weare a work in progress.
Jesus tells of the worker that had been working all day and another who got a late chance and worked a bit (Matt 20: 1-16). Two things – apart from each worker getting paid the same. One, both had to have some sort of opportunity, an invitation if you like, to work. The second thing…they were both working.
Racism is a relationship.
So what matters not so much as when we said ‘Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Lord.’ as whether we are living it. Like the antidote to racism is not just having the ‘right’ attitude, ‘I am cleansed now’, but the cleansing of relationship. The cleansing occurs each moment in the journey of relationship. Without relationship, an attitude cannot be truly revealed. It’s parked, hidden away, gathering dust like the slave who hid his master’s money away only to earn his wrath (Luke 19: 11-26). Clothed with only an ‘attitude’, it may well be that we are deaf to our own deafness and blind to our own blindness. We wouldn’t know, not even God would know, because we aren’t ‘working’, we’re wagging school.
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go visit you?’ And the King does answer… (Matt 25: 31-46). Do you know what the King says?
We’re in this together.
so, in a way, those who are less powerful do us a favour. They help us to grow. Perhaps we both need to grow.
Which may explain why Jesus spent so much time saying: listen ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear’ (Luke 8: 4-8). Kind of a win-win for everybody, both the people who think they are alright, and those people who know they are not, both get to benefit. The Kingdom of God arrives!
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons/daughters of God. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are the meek, the pure in heart, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5: 1-11).
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What you say can reveal who you are.
I was dismayed to visit a local Uniting Church recently and hear a number of things. One was regarding parenting extensively spoken about in terms of Mum and Dad, implicitly extolling the near invisibility of anyone who should so much think let alone be in single parent city. If you are going to be divorced, make sure you are partnered before you come back. Now sure, you can say you care, and you probably do. But if you haven’t cared enough to change the way you speak, have you changed? As I was saying above, are you ‘working’ on it.
Has ‘repent’ lost its oomph?
To diverge for a moment, the word ‘repent’ has lost its oomph, lost its meaning. It means turn around, go the other way. It does not mean lie down.
The notion that global warming, ifit exists, somehow doesn’t concern us, we’re booked in for the rapture, is misguided. Why worry about the environment said one Adventist to me. I suppose the process of how I care about what is around me, reflects something of how or whether I care at all. Am I willing to practice the process of caring? Or am I not? There is not a lot of caring just standing around in a queue talking about it.
The other thing that bothered me in the above visit was the prayer’ And Lord may the leadership of these (nasty) terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq learn what they are doing is wrong, and may they receive your righteous judgment on that final day. Lord, I do not understand what has happened in New Orleans, and I do not know how it fits into your plan, but your plan always works out.’
First thing, God told us to use our brain, ‘Lady if you don’t have any idea what went on in New Orleans, I suggest you don’t even go near Iraq.’ Second if you go to New Orleans, don’t just stand around and pray. Third, there is no plan, or at least not much of one. You are the plan.
As of right now, the thought of me having to rely on you as part of that plan scares me. Or indeed to rely on me in that plan, scares me. It’s why God said ‘Fear not’ and his other slogan, a real gem, quite catchy, ‘Oh ye of little faith.’ They just didn’t have bus billboards in those days.
Fourth, given our woeful Courier Mail and Australian papers, I suggest you subscribe to the online New York Times, it’s ITee. And discern where you go ITom there.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength (Mark 12: 30). My grammar checker doesn’t like that one. It tells me it’s not right. Perhaps the English language needs to repent. I know I do. And will continue so to do.
Oh yah, and love your neighbour as yourself. I almost forgot!
The above bears no relation to person, plant or animal, living or dead, except when it does. A thank you is due to God for making me. All errors are my own.
Owen Kessels is a counsellor in private practice working with adults, children and everyone in between. He is still trying to understand life as we live it