Recently I heard someone say, “We need fewer Christians in this world and more Christs.” Amen!
Our churches seem to want to define a Christian by whether they believe what the church tells them to believe and whether they do what the church tells them to do. But, as James C. Howell says in Yours are the Hands of Christ, “Jesus didn’t dole out pithy formulas, scale metaphysical heights, or outline dogmas. Instead he talked incessantly about how to live our lives, how to spend our money, how to treat others. More importantly, he lived a unique life, had no money, and touched others in exemplary ways.”
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And, just what does Christ mean, anyway? You know it wasn’t his last name (and, yes, some people really believe that). It was a title. Christ is Greek for the Hebrew word Messiah, which means “anointed” and refers to one commissioned by God for a special task.
I suppose people could argue about what Jesus’ special task was, but he was pretty clear about it. He came to be light for the world, and bread for the wilderness of our souls. He came to be a voice for the silenced, to let people know that God loved everyone equally and unconditionally, to break down the walls of oppression, to help people to stand strong, to bring comfort, peace, forgiveness, hope and healing. Jesus came to show us how everyone can be one with the Divine as he was one with the Divine.
While Jesus may have called people to “follow” at the beginning of his ministry in order to teach them, to help them mature spiritually and to develop a deeper understanding and connection with the Divine. In the end, he didn’t say keep following, he said “Go! For the love of Pete, go out and BE for the world. Be who God created you to be – people of warmth, light, compassion, hope. I’ve been trying to show you this all along. We are all anointed ones given a special task in the world to make it a better place. Go!”
There was once a New Yorker cartoon that had a clergyman standing at a crossroads where he is clearly struggling with which signpost to follow. One has an arrow that points to “Heaven.” The other has an arrow that points to a “Discussion about Heaven.”
This is true about so many spiritual things, I’m afraid. We’d rather talk about prayer than pray. We’d rather talk about being compassionate than sit and eat food with the homeless. We’d rather give money for a mission trip than sleep in bunk beds and get dirty every day. We’d rather talk about social justice than get out and march for a cause. We’d rather talk about Christ than be like Christ. It’s easier. But it isn’t the spiritual path.
I don’t care if you never believe a thing the church tells you. But I tell you, you have been anointed. You are sacred and blessed and you have a special task for this time and place. Open your hearts and your minds to that possibility. Consider every day what it means to be Christ to the world… but don’t just think about it, DO it. BE it.
Namaste (the light of Christ in me sees the light of Christ in you),