Whether you’re promoting the idea that Mexicans are rapists or insisting that your political opponents should be stuffed in a basket labeled “deplorables,” you have basically failed to recognize the central meteoric truth of life on Planet Earth:
Our human journey is about getting along with humans.
The ministry of Jesus is capsulized in how we treat others. Also, our relationship with God is determined by how well we welcome those who have been deemed worthless.
When I arrived at the Holly Calvary Church to meet the energetic and engaged Pastor Cliff and his congregation, I was fully aware that nothing I have to share has any value if I am a grump.
- I am my Gospel.
- I am my message.
- My facial expression is what I think God feels about people.
And my attitude is certainly my theology.
During one of the prayers, a word came to my mind: exceedingly.
There are people who are exceedingly sad. They’ve given up. They’ve decided to settle. Despair has become their cry for retreat.
What we desperately need–and what I shared with the good folks in Holly–is the message of Jesus: rejoice and be exceedingly glad.
What does that mean? Why isn’t “glad” enough? Why does it need to be “exceedingly?”
Because mad and sad people try to cover up their true motivations with missions which seem to be legitimate. So if our gladness doesn’t spill out of us like cold water from melted mountain snow, then it will be difficult to set ourselves apart from those who snarl and sigh.
Pastor Cliff is encouraging his church to get back to the Word of God. I agree. That “Word” is personified in the lifestyle of Jesus. He is the Word. And he wants us to be glad.
How do we know when we’re being glad?
- We decide to love everybody even if it seems ridiculous.
- We refuse to judge anybody even if it appears necessary.
- We determine to help everybody find their abundant life.
I truly believe if the absolutely amazing individuals I met yesterday in Holly will generate love, stop judging and aid their brothers and sisters in finding life, which is grounded in the Word, they can also be free of religious chains.
That’s the good news.
The better news is that “exceedingly glad” does come with the additional benefit of personal smiles and inner joy.
Published by Jonathan Cring