April 17, 2012

When Saw We Thee?

Jesus once said that there would come a day when He would condemn us for not feeding Him when He was hungry, not clothing Him when He was naked and not ministering to Him when He was sick.  With hearts pierced by guilt, we would reply by asking when we ever saw Him hungry, or naked, or sick.  And He would answer: "Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me."

Christ could very well answer our question the following way: When you supported policies that further enriched the wealthy to the detriment of the poor, when you chose to fund the production of bombs while children died from hunger, when you fought against the one chance the nation had to bring healthcare to each of its citizens, you did it contrary to the gospel's directive to love all your neighbors.

In a recent Newsweek article, Andrew Sullivan tells us to, "forget the church, follow Jesus."  Seeing how Christian fundamentalists fight against the most basic aspects of Christ's teachings, Sullivan's admonition is arguably good advice.  In speaking of those teachings, he says:
What were those doctrines? Not the supernatural claims that, fused with politics and power, gave successive generations wars, inquisitions, pogroms, reformations, and counterreformations. Jesus’ doctrines were the practical commandments, the truly radical ideas that immediately leap out in the simple stories he told and which he exemplified in everything he did. Not simply love one another, but love your enemy and forgive those who harm you; give up all material wealth; love the ineffable Being behind all things, and know that this Being is actually your truest Father, in whose image you were made. Above all: give up power over others, because power, if it is to be effective, ultimately requires the threat of violence, and violence is incompatible with the total acceptance and love of all other human beings that is at the sacred heart of Jesus’ teaching. 
 To this I add, Amen.

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