What I’m Thinking: Obvious

Sometimes Christianity seems as, well, obvious as a lamp on a lamp stand. Other times, less so.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the fifth chapter of Matthew still (Matthew 5:13-20). The Revised Common Lectionary stays with the Sermon on the Mount through the Sundays after Epiphany, at least until just before the beginning of Lent.

This section of the Sermon on the Mount always makes me feel some of the well, some of the basic simplicity of my own role in life as a pastor and as a preacher. Because, you see, it often seems to me as if my job is to state the terribly obvious: that it’s good to be good to people; that it’s good to be humble before God.

In this section, Jesus is quite explicit about it: that Christians – not just preachers, but Christians – are supposed to be lamps placed on lamp stands and not underneath baskets, that they are as clear and visible as a city set on a hill. The purpose of this, says Jesus, is that when we do things that are good, people will see them and understand them as part of the teaching of Jesus, of the Church, of God.

The trouble is is that in these days I am not certain that it is our good works that first get associated with the Church. I’m terribly afraid that it is the harm that we have caused. I’m terribly afraid that it is the things that we’ve said that have invited the abuse of some by others. I’m afraid that it’s the hypocrisy of saying one thing – of requiring something of others – and yet doing the contrary ourselves.

It is much the same situation that Isaiah criticized in chapter 58 (Isaiah 58:1-12) when he asked what sacrifice God was looking for and truthfully it was the sacrifice of release for the captives, it was the sacrifice of breaking all the yokes.

It is simply true: what we do as Christians, as individual people, it is seen. It is understood. And people will see and understand what is good and just. They will also see what is evil and harmful.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , | Posted on February 2, 2020

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