What a week of contrasts. The celebration of Dr. King's message followed by the inauguration of a president that so many people fear may in some way negatively effect the perceived harmony of our nation. So, what do we take from all of this? There is certainly an abundance of topics to reflect upon, but, I'd like to focus on something that I think can and will be very easy to slip into if we are not careful, hypocrisy. As I look at those things that I have a more difficult time "going with the flow" with, I recognize that most of them are centered in hypocrisy. Now that REALLY frustrates me. I should clarify here. People often say one thing and do another. Though it does aggravate me a little, over the course of my life, I have come to understand that all of us try to deceive ourselves about some things and that as we grow in wisdom (if that is our choice) that many of these things become apparent and we work towards fixing them. What really gets me is the more systemic, social or societal hypocrisy that is so easily sold to us by so many with an agenda. YEAH!!! We all so often call out the hypocrisy in others, this reflection will hopefully lead to an opportunity to reflect on our own hypocrisy.
So, here's the premise. I know that sometimes I attempt to fight for what I think is right, which is good, except when I lower myself to the depths I perceive those who do not agree with me do. It is a travesty to see all of the unrest that we all blame on everyone else. The point...when we make our point the "How" is maybe even more important than the "What". It is easy to try and advance my point, my belief, my agenda, by using the same tactics that we are so against in those who have an opposing point, belief or agenda
I must say that I purposely attempt in most cases in my life and in my writing on this blog to not make sweeping generalizations and of course, even if this sounds like one, I am well aware that this is not a 100% always type of thing. Nonetheless, it still "gets my goat".
Jesus, in my opinion, became the enemy of the religious and political leaders of his time mostly because He never shied away from making a statement that made those who were filled with hypocrisy really uncomfortable. The amazing thing though is that all of those statements came from a place of love and reconciliation, it is for that reason that I, in my reflection, take Jesus so seriously. He made his statements not to win an argument but to begin, in a small way, a conversion. Those who opposed him had no reason not to at least listen. Whether or not they bought into his message was not influenced by tactics of anger. It was an invitation, not to do and believe everything right away, but to at least listen. Boy, do we want people to listen to us (especially since my point and my belief are right all of the time in every possible way...haha). Oh...I'm not always 100% right? I need to listen too? Is that really a part of the deal?
As a result of the hypocrisy being slammed into our society, and especially into our young people, they have come to believe that their way is the way it should be. The fact of the matter is that even today, people are uncomfortable with the truth. People are equally as uncomfortable with an opposing view...All of us!!! People sometimes don't want to be told that there can be and is a different, a better way. Why? It messes with their rock solid belief that what they believe is the Gospel truth.
Jesus never had an issue making the difficult statement, the one that rocked the foundation of any self indulged person or organization. We too need to find the courage to make a statement. You see, it is ok to say that you believe in, follow and live your life by faith, (whatever that faith may be). It is ok to stand up and say that Jesus' message of love, mercy and compassion is a better way. It is ok to say that living selfish lives that tear a person down and make them feel less beautiful or less worthy is not the way our culture should be. It is ok to witness to the difficult teachings of Christ and live our lives centered in the joy of the good news. But, it is not ok if we proclaim these truths in a way that hurts others, that does not seek to find the other but instead violently tosses them into the abyss of the ignorant, the evil, the sinners. Jesus never made his point that way.
We are often told that we are called to a "radical" faith. I am convinced that we need to live this radical faith in a couple of ways. First, a radical faith never discriminates or closes doors on anyone, regardless of their beliefs. Second, we are called to be the light, the reconciler. That means that we must be the example by living with open minds and hearts, with compassion for those who have strayed from the truth of the Gospel, but, also a willingness to meet them where they are and journey with them back to the light. Finally, we are called to make a statement. Our statement should be based on conviction of faith and the joyful love of the Gospel. We need to dismiss the notion that evangelization is not politically correct because it forces people to challenge themselves to be more than our society calls or wants them to be. When we live as Jesus would have us live, our statement does rock the foundation of our hypocritical society and offers an opportunity for all to see life as a gift as opposed to life being about the gifts you receive. So, be radical in your faith, proclaim it and live it out fully, unabashedly, knowing that your statement may be the one that opens the eyes of a person who seeks truth.
Hey SFDS, BE THE LIGHT!!!
Music for the weekend of January 22nd
Processional - The Lord Is My Light -
Psalm 27 -
Offertory - Lord, You Have Come
Communion - I Receive The Living God
Communion Meditation - Draw Me Close
Recessional - O Magnify The Lord