"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear" ~ Martin Luther King Jnr.
This statement speaks to my heart in so many powerful ways. More importantly though, I also believe it speaks to the heart of the message of the gospel. When Jesus was asked the question, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" He answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And love your neighbor as you do yourself." Then to ensure no ambiguity in His intent, He goes on to define who our neighbor is in the ever popular story of the "Good Samaritan." Evidently, according to Jesus' story, the one that despises you and treats you as if you were cattle droppings, is actually the neighbor you're supposed to be loving. If love, and I use this word in the purest most altruistic sense, were easy, then every body would be practicing it perfectly. As it stands, not only does love require superhuman effort daily, it requires divine inspiration.
In simplifying the message of the gospel again (Just like Jesus did), we run the risk of losing credibility amongst those who believe that it takes special training, and a special 'anointing' to dissect and disseminate the message. But we are guaranteed to gain the ear of those we are desperately trying to reach. A friend of mine puts it like this;
"For the gospel to spread it must be believed. So many Christians know church but not the gospel. They may know doctrine but not Christ. Leaders must help people understand the essence of the Christ following story and how it intersects with their lives and the world as a whole." ~ Alex McManus
The gospel cannot be neatly stacked into tidy little shelves of ideologies and formulas. It's veracity can't be subject to the dictates of human wisdom. Broken, hurting people don't fit neatly into ideologies and formulas. The gospel message is timeless, but it's new; and therein lies the paradox. It isn't difficult, but it's hard. It isn't complex to understand, but it's not so easy to do. When the message is distilled down to it's rawest essence, it is simply this: "Love God, and love People." Living your life for someone else and for a cause bigger than you, is a lofty ideal in the thinking, but an excruciatingly sacrificial task in the doing. I'd tell you to ask Martin Luther King Jnr., but, sadly he paid the ultimate sacrifice in practicing what he believed and so I guess you're just going to have to wait to ask him. In the meantime, how about letting your life be a "letter" written by God to His creation?!
I also wanted to be sure to register my thoughts about the end of the world which is apparently slated for tomorrow, Saturday May 21, 2011. I'm not ready yet, and so I'll see you in church on Sunday! Seriously though, this type of foolish rhetoric is exactly why people think the Church is completely irrelevant and self-absorbed. Now, I realize that this foolhardy faction hardly represents the Church, but tell that to the media and everyone else who will take advantage of every opportunity to knock the Church. The Bible guarantees it??? Seriously? In what book and chapter? And what the heck will all these clowns do on Sunday when they wake up bright and early on "God's good earth?"