Our society has turned upside down. You know what I mean? Where once we were civil, compassionate and caring, we have become uncivil, hateful and uncaring. We have gone from recognizing the value and worth of every individual to demonizing whole blocks of people. In the past, we have disagreed with each other over religion, politics and morality, but we respected each other throughout the conversation. We agreed to disagree and still care for each other. We have lost our way and our humanity, not to mention our religion. We cannot rightfully claim to be followers of Jesus if we do not practice the basic tenets of the faith as stated by him.
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40 NRSV
Jesus gave this most basic understanding of the will of God in response to the clear understanding in the Hebrew Scriptures, that all people are created in the image of God and as such, deserve the same respect and love that we give to the Creator. It is counter to the Christian faith to act otherwise. Racism, sexism, ageism, gender orientation discrimination, domestic violence, bigotry, and hatred, etc. are in direct opposition to the Gospel. I am pretty sure that not confronting these stereotypes and their resulting actions toward others is equally in conflict with the Gospel. Choosing to remain silent in the face of these questionable positions is in fact supporting them, at least in the sense that remaining silent is akin to approval.
As I think back on the history of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), it has always been our goal to restore New Testament Christianity, although we have never really figured out exactly what that means. But, we have tried to imagine what the Kingdom of God would look like if it came to fruition and move in that direction. I think it is safe to say that we have promoted those basic tenets of Jesus’ understanding by loving God first and foremost and by loving our neighbors as we wish to be loved. I hope that is the path upon which we will continue to travel until the Kingdom is a reality for all people.
Posted on Tue, September 11, 2018
by Doug Meister