Love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself. All of the Laws and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Matthew 22:37-40
What Does This Mean?
I thought I’d use my space this month to begin a conversation on exploring a topic through the lens of our Pentecost seasonal theme “What does it mean?” The above text is the heart of Jesus’ message. In this case, the question might be, What does it mean to live out this message today?
We live in a post enlightenment world. We ask questions, we have options, we have differing opinions and beliefs on many issues, and we are aware of many cultures and faiths in addition to our own. We live in a diverse world. Each year, we increase our understanding of our world far beyond what our forefathers could have ever perceived. In his book, The Heart of Christianity, Marcus Borg explains that in today’s world there is no single right way to be a Christian. Yes, there are certainly some wrong ways, like using Christian language to legitimate hatred or injustice, but there is no one right way. So, as a Christian, what are my responsibilities in this world?
As a Christian living in a multi-cultural, multi-religious society, I believe I need to acknowledge that God works through different people in different ways, but the end goal is always the same … the promotion of the Reign of God on earth, a reign that will be characterized by peace and harmony among all creatures (Isaiah 11:6-9). It is a reality with which I have had to learn to make peace. However, in acknowledging that the Christian voice is not the only view in this multi-voiced world, I have also found I can still be a clear voice for Christ, living without compromise and remaining true to myself. As a Christian, I have a responsibility to constantly seek truth and discerning God’s will for my life. It is a truth that exposes, judges and condemns us and our Christianity, as well as others and their religions. It is a truth that will be revealed only through my willingness to engage in these truth seeking encounters with those whose faith and life are different from my own. It is dialoguing with and meeting people where they are. It is hearing their voices and it is seeking the truth, a truth recognizable, because it is the transforming work of God reconciling all kinds of people to one another. It is the love of God working among the poor, marginalized, excluded and oppressed to help maintain a healthy life and welfare of all. It is a truth that echoes and magnifies God’s work in the scriptures, and it is a truth whether it comes from Christians or non-Christians, religions or secular scientists. In seeking this truth, I need to recognize that I know only in part, and can see only dimly. I have learned I am not the only one seeking God’s truth and that others may have learned from God’s spirit what I can only rely on my faithfulness in Christ to know. For I believe that God just might elect to use one of these encounters, that I just may see demonstrated elements of a life that is closer to the life taught and demonstrated by Jesus, than my own. In this context, the biggest challenge is to find ways of expressing the Christian alternative so that the choice becomes an appealing one among other cultural choices.
Have a blessed day,