Psalm 100:1-2, 3, 5
FOLLOWING JESUS IS A TOUGH CHOICE
Paul and Timothy's travels sound more like a brochure than the hard realities of their lives. They either walked or rode a donkey, when those many miles would look easier in a Toyota! They were not welcome in all towns and by all peoples. The message of Jesus, "love as our Father loves...as I love you...with compassion," was foreign to many. Theirs was not an easy life. We all know the stories of how Paul and other christians were persecuted.
Jesus warned all that "the world will persecute you...as the world persecuted me..." He also promised us "I am with you always".
Faith is a tough choice in our world today. There is so much evil and violence and, thanks to instant media, we know about it quickly and graphically. Wars are prevalent: Iraq, different parts of Asia and Africa and South America. There is violence on our US streets and within our homes. We hear new stories of corporate greed and unethical behavior daily. Instances of manipulation and control by politicians, media and church leaders of a variety of denominations have become commonplace. These all bring us to tears, anger, often to helplessness.
Today our struggles are:
We need to struggle for:
Today's world persecutes anyone who believes in the goodness of humankind and who promotes goodness and justice. To be countercultural we need to see and own goodness and to point it out to others. In difficult times we need to be asking questions: "what is right or good here?" We need to look for God and speak God's message. Have you thought of the war with Iraq lately? Did you notice that for the first time in history people around the world have called for peace?
Choosing to follow Jesus and speak for love and peace and truth is a choice for goodness. We can be grateful that there are people who urge us to this kind of oneness in the face of criticism. We can also be grateful to those who support us, "Jesus with skin on!"
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