In this season of Epiphany I am concentrating on how God reveals himself to us and how we in turn show God to others.
The church I grew up in was totally focused on the afterlife. You shared the love of Christ to keep people out of Hell. You did what you were told to win crowns in Heaven. It was all about death. Oh, and the End Times. Honestly, a lot of evangelical Christianity is like that.
Somewhere along the way I came to two conclusions:
- If that is all there is to Christianity, I want no part of it.
- That is not all there is to Christianity. That is not even most of it. That may not be any of it.
We take a passage like Matthew 25: 31-46. In the tradition of my youth this would be all about being judged and the possibility of Hell, which misses the point. First, its a parable. It is metaphor that uses traditional imagery for the time to make a point. What could that point possibly be?
God knows you are his by the way you treat others who have no power.
Not evangelize. Not give money to the church. Not attend church.
The way you treat others who have no power.
As Americans we have more political and economic power and freedom than the average citizen in the Roman Empire, more so even that much of the nobility.
We can do far more than give someone a sandwich and a coat. We can address the reasons for their poverty and powerlessness. Jesus in this passage builds on the prophets who spoke a great deal about the abuse of the powerless and God’s feelings on the matter.
If we are unwilling to address both the symptoms and the cause of injustice, poverty, and persecution then all our protests of “I am a Christian” seem pretty empty.
We show we belong to God through our actions, through our motivations, through our passions.
If it is not more than words than our faith is not only meaningless in the eyes of God it is meaningless to anyone else.