Rousseau said, “God created man in his own image. Man has returned the favour.”
All sorts of atrocities have been perpetrated in the name of Christianity. It’s frightening how we can use the Bible to shape God to fit our beliefs. May our prayer be “God cause me to know you as you really are.” Spirituality does not mean wanting to be like someone else we admire. You can’t be like Rob, because Rob is Rob and you are you. Spirituality is about getting close to God and becoming the real you.
True biblical Christianity provides the framework for the whole of life. Our calling as Christians is as representatives of God in all our lives. There should be no distinction between the sacred and the secular. If we allow it in the church then the church withdraws from the world into a world of its own, as a subculture.
We should instead be a counterculture – a challenge.
It has been considered spiritual to be out of date. If you are up with the times, you are worldly. Many things today especially in magazines and marketing, reinforce the idea that to be a Christian is to be nice, inoffensive, and irrelevant. But the gospel message was an offence to many in the beginning.
No longer should we assess our spirituality by what we don’t do.
Cows eating grass get lost easily because they nibble and move an inch at a time and don’t stop to look where they are going. The world is getting lost. It doesn’t mean to, it doesn’t want to, but it happens. What are we going to do about it?
What transforms the individual can transform society. Do we say “the world is in a terrible mess but it is too much for me to change, so let’s have a party. We will use worship as our painkilling drug.” The day we are happy to accept that there are atrocities, people starving, inequalities etc in our world, then we have lost sight of God’s will for mankind.
The church isn’t an edifice or an organisation. The church is ‘the people of God, gathered around the word of God, ready to do the will of God.’ The will of God is that the people of God grow more like him, and then take their transformed lives and go out and transform others, one life at a time.
We need Jesus, the church needs Jesus, and the world needs Jesus.
Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.
But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets…
Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full.
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:22-26, 31-36)
[based on a sermon by Chris Matthews in 1988, and still relevant today]