Friday, September 18, 2015

A Thought for Friday 18 September 2015

“Everyone who acknowledges Me before others, I also will acknowledge before My Father in heaven; but whoever denies Me before others, I will also deny before My Father in heaven.”  Matthew 10:32-33 NRSV

This passage gets passed around on social media and in many e-mail “chain letters” than perhaps any other passage in Scripture – AND – in my opinion, in a most inappropriate and shallow way.  The social media or e-mail suggests that if we do not “share” that particular post or Tweet and if we do not pass along to our own e-mail connections that very thing which has been sent to us, then we might as well pack our bags and prepare for the descent into the very depths of Hell. 

Surely we can read this passage and do a better job of not only understanding our Lord’s words in its fullness, but perhaps we can also embrace this passage as sage advice on how to live as Christians.  For instance, are we “acknowledging” Jesus when we gossip about someone we don’t like?  Or are we denying Him?  Are we affirming Christ as Savior of the world when we decide worship just isn’t nearly as important as sleeping in or playing golf or going fishing or hunting or entertaining family and friends?  Or are we dismissing Him and all He sought to teach those who would dare to follow Him?

Claiming Christ as one’s “personal” Savior is a little tricky when we fail to realize or appreciate that there is more to being connected to Him than to simply say His Name aloud or post a thingie on Facebook.  We wonder why people are moving away from the Church rather than toward but I think if we were to study the Scripture, really delve into the fullness of the Written Word, we would find much more for these lost souls than professions of faith or “sinners’ prayers”. 

Only Jesus knows what’s in my heart”, we love to say; but Jesus says something quite the opposite: “A good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).  And this, I think, is what Jesus is talking about in whether we are affirming or denying our affiliation with Him.  What we say often becomes what we do and ultimately defines who we really are.

It is past time to stop playing Christian and start living as disciples who are genuinely following Christ.  For it is the faithful witness of the Holy Church by which others come to know of whom Jesus really is.  A “personal” Savior – OR – Lord of the Church?  Those who are lost and lonely and hungry and homeless need to know.  What will we tell them?  “Be warm, stay safe, eat well”?  OR will we say, “Let me help you, comfort you, feed you, heal you”?


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