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This week’s note from Rev. Bill

What Does It Mean to “Be More Like Jesus”?

 

Every church, every Christian claims that they are following Jesus. So why are we so often at each other’s throats? Does Jesus have multiple personalities? 

Some churches seem obsessed with sin – usually someone else’s! Other churches focus upon silence and meditation, and separation from the world. 

Still other churches (and Christians) see our duty in specific areas of social justice, visiting the poor, caring for the sick. Some like loud, exciting worship. Others want structure and order. 

So what do we mean when each of us says that we are following Jesus? 

Jesus spoke up against sin. He spent time in quiet out in the wilderness. He healed the sick. He celebrated with His friends. He knew and quoted the scriptures. It seems that we all can find verses that support our way of worship!

We were warned in seminary of trying to “create God in our own mirror-image”. We humans like to justify our behavior by finding verses that agree with what we already want, and reading only those passages to the exclusion of all else. For instance, you could find scriptural backing for acting violently against those whom you believe are dishonoring God. Remember Jesus in the Temple, driving out the money changers? 

But let me ask you this – Was that the hallmark of Jesus’ ministry?  Is that what Jesus did on a regular basis? Have people surrendered their lives to Jesus because He was able to humiliate and hurt the religious leaders of His day? 

I don’t believe so. Jesus is worshiped because He exemplified love and patience; He showed us the extreme grace of God that went to whatever lengths it took to reach us! That one story of Jesus driving out the money changers does not give us license to treat other people like that on a regular basis. 

Jesus was known for peace, compassion, and love. He was known for standing with the “sinner”, for sitting down with the people that no one else would give the time of day. He stood up against the misuse of religion and faith as tools to hurt and oppress people. 

I want to be more like that Jesus. I want to be known for loving people for who they are, and for giving them space to grow into who they can be. 

Rev. Bill

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