Monday, February 20, 2017
Mark Odhiambo Odieny ( Rev)
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because God has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
God has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4.18-19
A Word of Hope
Christianity as revealed in the Bible, and exemplified by early followers of Jesus Christ, is an action-oriented faith as opposed to confession without practice kind of religion. James in chapter two verse seventeen points out that faith without works is dead. Our faith is seen not so much in what we say as in what we do. It is said that believers were first called Christians in Antioch( Acts 11:26) and this was so because of the kind of life they led. They imitated the Christ of whom they were followers. Over and over again, Jesus Christ in his earthly ministry taught his disciples of the importance of demonstrating their faith through their works. In fact, he points out that our fruits and deeds are what proves to the world that we are his disciples. ( Matt. 5:16) The Christian faith is a lifestyle of submitting our will and action to God. It is a life of total surrender to Christ; it is more of what we do than what we say,
Unfortunately, this has not been the case in our circles in the churches, in the communities and country. Many Christians fail to live up to their God-given call, they say more and do less. Their action fails to match up to their words. There is such a huge disconnect between faith and practice. there is a collapse of what is sacred and what is worldly. Prejudice, hate, injustice and corruption thrive under the watch of some so-called " Christians" who on Sunday confesses the Apostle’s creed and fail to abide by the same on Monday. Sections of the church are caught up in cases of abetting crime and propagating injustice. In Africa, the church is known to be the father of negative tribalism and catalyst for hate and discrimination. In Africa, the church is succeeding in distorting the image of God, whom she should portray. God abhors unfair scales
It's not a wonder that the church can not be looked upon for any meaningful change when she is in bed with the authority that is the rock bed of impunity. It is common place in Africa to find men of the cloth jostling for political and governmental positions. And when they are elected or nominated, they champion the very unethical and inhuman environment that they were thought to address. No wonder Mahatma Gandhi remarked " I like your Christ, but i don't like your Christians" for the Christians are so unlike Christ.
The Christian faith as presented to us in the Bible and proclaimed by the early church fathers is under siege, we the Christians must seize the future by going back to what Christ-like really means. The faith that teaches you to love your neighbor and believes in the words of Christ when he said that all who come to him are a new creation.
The journey of turning to what being a Christian might not be easy. It can be a lonely long travel. It can be possible, at many times, to doubt if you are right because it is bound to be a deserted path, with a lot of heart breakages and loss of life being a common occurrence. When Jesus says that he will bring recovery of sight to the blind, he actually refers to those who are meant to know the way but have chosen or neglected the way. These are the oppressors who at one point knew the truth but who find comfort in bigotry or are filled with fear to stand for the just and right ways of the Lord.
As one who Christ has chosen, remember that there are a dozen more people out there looking up for you. And any sign of panic in your character effects a lot more people out there than you ever thought of. You are the yardstick.
As you begin your day today, what is that one thing that some will see or hear from you that reflects who Christ is?
May you go out to love and serve the Lord.
Lord you never make junk in any of your Creation, use me today in my frailty to stand out as your true instrument of reconciliation and the true image of your love. Amen.