Matthew 17:22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised.” And they were greatly distressed.
Words of Hope
In many benedictions, pastors tell us that we are now the “body of Christ” and as such “we are His hands in the world”. It is a heady commission.
If we, as the church, are indeed going to continue Jesus’ mission then why do so many churches who profess to be Christian ignore the words of Jesus and instead find ways to twist Scripture for malicious reasons. Why would they ignore Jesus greatest teaching as stated in Matthew: “’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.’”
To ignore that teaching and instead preach hatred or division seems to me an act that is killing Jesus all over again. By failing to observe His greatest commandment, we are crucifying the church, the body of Christ.
Harsh words? Yes, but sometimes harsh words are needed to wake us from our indifference and alert us to the resurrection that we as the Body or Christ represent, Jesus need not die again, if we continue His work and follow His words.
We are the church, and we are called to not just pray and sing and watch services as passive observers. We must be active in expressing the love He calls us to spread. We must become involved. We must carry the message by living lives that echo Christ. We must use our talents and our treasure to keep the church healthy and alive. We must show our neighbors the love Jesus shows us.
That also means supporting a society that follows those teachings and turning away from those who sow hatred and division. We must continue to build and nourish what Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. called the “Beloved Community”. A community based on justice, equality and love for all peoples.
God of many names, help us nourish the Body of Christ and keep it healthy and vibrant in a world that needs the hope we carry now more than ever. Help us use our hands and minds and resources to keep the work of Jesus alive. Amen