There are many today who disparage religion, especially Christianity. Many Christians, it seems as well, are embarrassed by the claims of our faith tradition. These “Oh No” attitudes are enhanced by a lack of understanding mixed with a misplaced sense of knowing.
The story of the Bible and especially of Jesus is to free people from oppression, from self-hatred, from the pain of exclusion, from human-made laws and doctrines that hurt more than they help. The story of faith is for each of us to return from exile. This represents immense change from our normal, selfish concerns and even the distaste some of us feel when we look in the mirror.
God’s love is stronger than hatred; stronger than those who wish harm on others; stronger than the oppression of the rich and mighty; stronger than the war machines that feed our worst fears and weakest values; stronger than shoot in the head vigilantes; stronger than warped religious values that try to exclude others FOR ANY REASON.
We are the balm that lifts up the hurting, that is empathetic toward the poor, that heals the wounds of broken social orders, that brings caring to those in distress, that says NO to injustice and prejudice and pride and greed, that says YES to the kingdom of God and the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ our Savior.
Another facet of giving something up is to take something up. In fact, without taking something up, giving something up will probably fail. And so we move from give up to take up…today, take up the charge.