Monday, September 7, 2015

Who, What, Where, Why and How

I recently watched a movie that kept asking the questions:  Do you believe? And if so, what are you going to do about it? This sparked a whole lot of other questions for me—the who, what, where, why and how of my own Christianity. Who is Christ and why am I a Christian? Where am I a Christian and what does it mean to be a Christian and how does being a Christian affect me, my life and my decisions?

Anyone who is seriously considering the nature of Christianity, their own or others, must first ask who Christ is. The correct and widely accepted answer among Christians is God, the second Person of the Trinity, our Lord and Savior. But you know by now that I never stop with the rote answer to anything. I started with asking it another way. I am a Christian and as such am called to be a reflection of Christ in the world. So if I were to ask others who Christ is based solely on the reflection of Christ they see in me, what would they say? Would they say he is inviting, forgiving, loving? Would they see the great peace, hope and wholeness he’s brought into my heart and life for the extraordinary thing that it is and maybe even want it for themselves? Would they see that being in relationship with them and bringing the hope and healing that only he can bring is more important to him than religious rules and rituals? Would they see that where we lack in perfection and holiness, he more than makes up for in grace and acceptance in his sacrifice on the cross?

I’ve told my story before about how God found me in a department store and introduced himself to me through my own personal reading of his Word. For twenty years I floated between atheism and agnosticism. I’m sure I met plenty of Christians during that time. A few stand out in my memory as having that something special, that deep down overwhelming peace and joy, I so wanted but which seemed to be eluding me. When I began to read the bible, I found the peace, joy, love and acceptance I had been looking for all of my life in Jesus. It didn’t matter to him what I did or didn’t do and he couldn’t have cared less about my potential. He loved me just as I was sinfulness and all. He accepted me as I was and offered himself unreservedly to me as he was. My story is the narrative of why I am a Christian, but his unashamed, unhindered, unconditional love is the reason why I am a Christian.

Is my Christianity confined to a limited space on my calendar? If I were a secretary outside of the church, what part would my Christianity have in the secular work place? In the line at the grocery store? Or do I carry my Christianity everywhere I go in my heart, my mind and my soul, letting it seep in my actions and interactions, reflecting Jesus from my inside out. Is being a Christian about what I do and don’t do or about the attitude and sincerity in which I act? If I act with love, grace, and acceptance towards others though they are sinful, even if they are unrepentant, am I misrepresenting Jesus or am I treating others the way he treated and treats me? Hebrews 10:14 tells us that “because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” This give me the freedom to treat my brothers and sisters with the respect, understanding and acceptance that his sacrifice and their resulting eternal perfection demands even as they are still being made holy in their ever deepening relationship with our God. We plant seeds of our actions wherever we go. My only question now is—what kind of seeds do I want to plant? Seeds of grace, love, joy, and invitation into relationship with Jesus or seeds of condemnation, religious elitism, unforgiveness and shame?

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