This past Sunday I was standing next to my husband at church. This is a rare occurrence because my husband is a Deacon and he’s typically on the altar sitting next to the priest and not in the congregation with me and the kids. I am so glad that he was there as I needed his support for the very powerful Gospel reading. I needed to feel the squeeze of his hand…I think he also needed to feel the squeeze of my hand. The Gospel was filled with challenge, after challenge.
· Love your enemy
· Do good to those who hate you
· Bless those who curse you
· To the person who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic.
· Stop judging…stop condemning,…forgive…give!
Wowzah!!! This was a tall order, and likely a lecture we should hear daily. My pastor, (who is an amazing preacher) began his homily by saying, “Jesus MUST just be joking around right?” After we stopped giggling, he proceeded with a message that will forever change my life! He spoke eloquently as to why all of this was important to the Christian life, but he summarized it with a statement that hit me clear over the head: “We are not called to be LIKE Christ, we are called to BE Christ!”
I grew up in a time when WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) was a saying that people lived by. We wore the saying on a bracelet, I did too! It was black with white letters. This saying made me want to be “like” Him, it didn’t call me to “be” Him! What a profound difference one word makes! I am the face of Christ! I am His hands, His feet, and yes, especially His heart! This powerful, yet simple statement, that I need to BE Christ profoundly changed my outlook on life. I need to wake up, get off my butt, and get to work!
I typically think that I am a pretty good person…but am I Christ…goodness no! I avoid my enemies. I do not go out of my way to do good to those who don’t like me. I certainly don’t bless those who curse my name, nor do I offer my other cheek to someone who has hurt me. I can be judgmental, I can withhold forgiveness, and I don’t give to others as often as I could!
I desire to always be the best version of myself, but our Gospel from Luke reminded me of just how far away I am from the person I want to be…the person God desires me to be. This week I have been spending my prayer time reflecting on what I can do to BE Christ in this world and working on the person that I am.
Are you like Christ or are you Christ? What a good challenge this is to all of us as we approach the Lenten season. What can we do this Lent to make sure that we are Christ to the world around us? What areas of our life do we need to refine and grow in, so that at the end of our lives, when we are measured, we are not shocked by the results.