Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
As you all are aware our culture is changing. In fact, we have been in a constant state of change for what seems like forever. New TV shows, wild and different music, different and shocking clothes, I could go on forever. If we are honest with ourselves many of us were part of a "culture war" when we were growing up as well. Does anyone remember "The Beatles" or "The Rolling Stones"...need I say more?
Deep within any culture war or cultural change there is always a question of religion or, as many refer to it, theology. Where is God? Where is Jesus? How are we to treat our fellow man? Most culture wars are suspect of "the authority" of the past and look for new ways to express themselves (St. Paul's powers and principalities reflect a culture war of such within the Jewish construct of the 1st Century) and usually that expression reflects a belief or understanding of Jesus, God, or a higher power.
Today we see many examples of the culture wars reflected in music, television, movies, books, animation, etc. One of the more unusual places where I find an exciting, new, and often "right on" reflection on Christianity today as seen by the skeptical is on two shows on the cable network Comedy Central. The two shows I am referring to are "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report." Both of these shows, while at times being offensive and crude, speak to real truths that reflect negatively on Christianity.
On a Colbert Report from a couple of years ago, the host, Stephen Colbert-- responding to many in our nation rejecting Obamacare and our call from our Lord to care for the less fortunate--said the following: "If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus is just as selfish as we are or we've got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition, and then admit that we just don't want to do it."
Ouch! How about double ouch! Can you say CONVICTED? Holy Scripture tells us over 10,000 times to care for the marginalized, the poor, the destitute, the prisoner, the widow, the hungry, the naked, the homeless...I could continue but I'm sure you get the idea.
We are all familiar with Jesus' Parable of the Mustard Seed. I have often thought that maybe the parable is not about growth but maybe about an invasive and unpredictable God who asks us to look beyond neat and orderly rows of crops and take notice of the mustard plant growing amongst the planned and expected crop. Maybe we are to look at the mustard plant as Jesus, the one in our midst who calls us to do what society does not do, to stand out in a crowd and take care of the least among us. I believe that as Christians it is a sin for us to gather on Sunday morning in worship and say, "Jesus Christ is Lord!" while at the same time behaving as if Jesus were dispensable -- just a nice guy living in the first century who went about doing good and not do what he has taught and asked us to do.
All Saints is filled with good, dedicated, loving and faithful Christian people who care and who want to help the least among us. Some of you are doing that now and that is wonderful, for those who are currently not engaged I would encourage you to get involved in one of the many ministry opportunities here at All Saints where you will be transformed by meeting Christ in the hearts, souls, and faces of those who we serve.
Blessings this week,
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