Our faith writer, Lamar Jackson, is having a beautiful vacation with his family on a cruise ship somewhere in the Caribbean. I’m filling in for him and decided to post a Simple Sabbath thought on Sunday, breaking our normal “Silent Sunday” framework.
I’ve recently become vaguely aware of the The Geneva-based World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lausanne movement. The Economist published an article on October 28th about the history of their purpose, struggles with mission and most recent progress in Cape Town. I’ll be posting thoughts this afternoon about my perspective on this article, the history and movement, and what it means for Christians in our geographic area.
Until then, I hope you have a wonderful Sunday – silent, or not. Prefacing my post this afternoon, I’m going to share a Bible verse with you. The last two phrases have given me food for thought regarding this particular subject and I’ll begin with them.
7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. ~ Romans 13:7
** Sunday evening follow-up.
So, it’s not “the afternoon,” but rather the evening. I found my words for this article harder to write than I had anticipated.
I’ve struggled, as a Christian, for the past ten years or so with what seems to me to be an escalation of Christian persecution in our country, as well as persecution of others by Christians. Difficult to define my emotions, I suppose I would say that it appears some sort of negative quid pro quo has been taking place…through the media, through various Christian groups, and recently through social networking groups.
I’ve been mortified at times by messages I see posted by those I know to be Christians on Facebook toward ethnic groups or minorities. The same is true toward those who put forth a political view different from views held by those making the responses. At the same time, I’ve seen a new pervasiveness in the media of cartoons making fun of Christian views, and political pundits turn downright nasty when making statements about Christian beliefs. It’s been hard to see destruction, rather than common ground and relationship-building.
I recall one day I read a statement written by someone about an article discussing spirituality and the words were so incredibly harsh I began to cry.
But then I heard the story about a gentleman who had been an Al Qaeda operative, who when released from Guantanamo, went back to his homeland and rejoined the terrorists. However, he changed his mind, turned them in and averted an explosion – thus saving lives. I also read the Economist article I noted above. I can see hope of shifts; I see various Christian groups (even some of our missionaries in our own church) joining hands with other religions including Muslims and making a difference in international communities.
I see these things and I am encouraged. I also read these Bible verses and am encouraged as well:
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e] (Meaning…you leave him/her to decide how to respond or think about the situation, not that you “Make” them feel guilty. – RDK)
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. ~ Romans 12:14-21
So I suppose that my Not-So-Silent Sunday thought for our normal “Simple Sabbath” message is this: Be gentle, be respectful, be compassionate, be loving…to all those you meet as best as you can. A loving human is more powerful than anything else I’ve ever come in contact with…show your power this week, okay?
All the best, Red Dirt Kelly