Today I am weary and I just want to rest my head on Jesus’ shoulder. And I am second-guessing this blog post as I second-guess every post.
We have started an Uncivil War in this country. Or, as Billy Joel famously sang, “We didn’t start the fire…” but we are happily throwing gasoline on it instead of water.
I have to laugh at the battlefield, though. Chicken? Really? A thigh here, a pool of giblet gravy over there…
At issue for me is not whether those who oppose Chick-Fil-A have a beef (sorry, couldn’t resist) or whether “free speech” is at jeopardy.
What concerns me more are the long lines of Christians who are perfectly willing to stand up for their rights—when Jesus told us to lay them down.
The ones who believe that Americanism is more important than Christianity, that free speech is more important than loving our neighbor, that being right is more important than being like Christ.
Those of us who willingly travel overseas to help build homes for the poor, but at home vote for policies that turn the poor out on the street.
We seem to be compliant when Jesus asks us to give and help and pray and donate and love, but only as long as it’s on our own terms, as long as these terms don’t involve discomfort or sacrifice.
When Jesus said that we should pray for those who persecute us, He didn’t attach a rider that said, “Only if we can’t fight back.”
He didn’t fight back. He didn’t stand up for His rights, He didn’t call down legions of angels in His defense.
He went to the cross.
And He told us—in no uncertain terms, with no stammering or hedging—that we would have to do the same.
Why does this always surprise us?
Why am I always offended—every single morning—when Jesus asks me to die all over again? Because I freely admit, I am. I have to pray for the grace to give myself to Him all over again.
We refuse the cross, and then we wonder why no one comes to church with us.
But “Thy will be done” was not an afterthought in the Lord’s prayer. I think He knew we’d need it.
We cannot be “a Christian nation.” We cannot because we are not—we are Christian and atheist, Jew and Muslim, Hindu and Wiccan and a hundred colorful variations thereof—and no amount of anger or coercion or Bible-thumping or proof-texting or boycotting or voting rightly will bring those of other faiths to Christ.
The only One Who brings people to Christ is Christ, and He does it through love. And if people who do not know Jesus don’t see Him in His church, in the eyes and the hands and the love and concern of those of us who know Him, they may never see Him.
And we will have to explain why, while our neighbors perished for love, we were eating chicken.