Thursday, March 23, 2017

“For God So Loved the World…”

The Christian faith, by its very nature, can never be an individual thing!  The very idea contradicts the essence of both the Old and New Testaments.  “For God so loved the world” (not just me or you).   God still answers the question of the Old Testament, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” with a resounding “Yes,” and the question of the New Testament, “Who is my neighbor?” with “Everyone!”  It may be possible to practice some religions alone, but this is not possible for one who claims to be a Christian.  “For God so loved the world,” not just my puny soul.  The world God loves includes every person, believer and unbeliever, committed and uncommitted, church member and non-church member.

The characteristic number of the Christian faith is plural rather than singular.  The Lord’s Prayer begins, not my Father, but our Father.  In this same prayer there appears the pronoun us four times.  “Give us this day,” “Forgive us our trespasses,” lead us not into temptation,” Deliver us from evil.”  This emphasis on the plural is often forgotten or ignored.  Whenever or wherever this plural emphasis is forgotten or ignored, then the assertion that one is a “Christian” is a false claim.

God loves the world and calls us to do the same:  “Love one another.”  There can be no unilateral, private, insulated, or eccentric Christian life. William Stringfellow put it this way, “There is, in the biblical witness, no way to act humanly (the biblical ethic) in isolation from the whole of humanity, no possibility for a person to act humanly without becoming implicated with all other human beings.”

Whenever, however, wherever walls are erected between peoples of different cultures, races, parties, religions, classes, and nations, those walls are actually suppressing the biblical message.  The message of the Bible is “essentially political,” having to do with the fulfillment of humanity in society—all of us, not just some of us.  The current emphasis on "America First" is a suppression of the Christian gospel.
A New Dawn in Westover, MA--2016

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