Those Church People????
Society has labelled Christians as “Those Church People”. With little understanding of our Sunday morning gatherings people shake their heads and go off to hockey practice or whatever else. We are labelled, considered foolish at best and yet society has expectations. We stand condemned for all the mistakes we and others like us, make. For sure some of us have done and said horrible things in the past and in the present. It’s not that we’re alone in this kind of behaviour but we’re supposed to be an example. We’re considered to be believers, and therefore judged by a different standard. We’re expected to be extra thoughtful, extra caring, extra friendly, EXTRA “GOOD,” whatever that means.
And most of us do try to follow the example of Jesus, to love God, love kindness, seek justice and walk with humility. Many of us wear ourselves out at least trying to care for the people around us.
With all our stumbling efforts, our world is still crying out in pain. We give, but hunger persists. We try to live without prejudice. Yet many people feel and are rejected. Yes, like every human being, we make mistakes, lots of them. But we try.
And like Isaiah, we cry out to God, “We’ve failed. Send someone else.” We hope to be rewarded, encouraged or given an easier task. Instead, God gives us the same answer as Isaiah received. “You think you have failed at this job. Here is a bigger one. Just be a light. I will give you as a light to the nations.” God calls us to let our lights shine and leave God to do the rest. It sounds easy, but it’s actually very difficult.
My very first children’s book, “Spectacular Stella” tells the tale of a call to shine. Stella’s response is “Shine? How?’ She thinks about her love for her friend, her family of stars, and she begins to shine. The reality is that as we try to live as Jesus taught, we are called to reflect Gods love and the love of those around us.
As “those church people,” God does not judge our success or our failure. God asks us to answer our call to shine with God’s love, in the midst of everything we do, even in the midst of our mistakes. We’re not called to fix our world. We’re called to love our world through caring for those we meet. God will take care of the rest.