“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

"Missing Christ"

Tony Woodlief starts off his brief article "Missing Christ" (World Magazine, Nov.24, 2007) like this...
I saw Christ on a street corner in Washington, D.C., disguised as an alcoholic
felon. I don't often notice Christ. I can sit through entire church services and
not see Him. I'll notice which worship songs are individualistic pablum; I'll
remember if the sermon is more about what the Bible doesn't say, or if the
pastor is bent on setting people straight. But I'll miss Jesus, occupied as I am
with criticizing on His behalf. So it was unexpected, this Christ-sighting.
(visit http://www.worldmag.com/articles/13529 for more)

That is the case with many churches, many Christians I believe. We come to church hoping to see Christ, and pass him on the way. Over time, we get so used to not seeing Christ at church that we think that is the way it is supposed to be. But getting used to things the way they are not supposed to be, is much different from enjoying things the way they are supposed to be. Both can bring a level of comfort and relaxation. Its just that one is not the truth and the other is. Woodlief goes on to say,
For I was hungry and you gave Me food, Christ called out to me as I passed. It
was late; I just wanted a meal and my comfortable hotel bed. But I made the
mistake of eye contact. "They spit on me!" he shouted. It was so unusual that I
stopped. He was crying with frustration. Someone had given him spittle instead
of money.

We do that in the church although hopefully not with actual spittle. But people wait in need, families wait in need, and we pass them by on our way to church and in the process of "doing church." We have been doing church in a way that is different from the way it is supposed to be and even though we know there are hurting people in the world, relative to this blog people with various disabilities, we get used to our comfortable yet wrong way of doing things. The least of these, those who Christ says are his embodiement in the world right now are passed by. So we walk by the real Christ to worship a fictional Christ. A Christ of comfort and wealth and plenty and safety.
Woodlief ends his article like this:
I wondered who blessed whom on that street corner, and if Christ will ever
tire of coming to me in these ways, given how unfaithful I am in coming to Him.
Tough words which should give us pause. Jesus said that whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me (Matthew 25:45). No symbolism, no beating around the bush here. How much clearer, how much more direct could he have been?

You better watch out...


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