Sometimes we stand and we know what we stand for. Sometimes we fall and we are tripped over by our lack of attention and focus.
Sometimes we just wobble.
We wobble when we celebrate God’s awesome creation and then add to the pollution of God’s world. We wobble when we claim to follow a Jesus who was poor while we chase a dream of luxury and affluence. We wobble when we speak about being inclusive while we ignore people who are different to us. We wobble when we talk of justice for others while we can so easily become self-absorbed and self-interested. We wobble when we preach the timeless gospel and do it in outdated and irrelevant ways.
Maybe this side of the full kingdom of God, we will struggle to run the race of faith and walk the way of Jesus without some wobbles.
This edition of Revive reminds us that Jesus did not wobble when it came to loving, serving, advocating and acting for others. Scot McKnight reminds us that Jesus as a Galilean prophet had a job description a bit like this.
“Speak openly and clearly about what God is for. Speak openly and clearly about what God is against. Remember I (God) am with you, and have courage (but you may have to duck or die).”
Often we can work out what people are for by listening to what they are against. Jesus was against authorities who ignored oppression. Jesus was against the tax collectors who ripped people off. Jesus was against the disciples when they ignored the children. Jesus was against those who knew Scripture, but did not allow themselves to be changed by the power of God. From what Jesus opposed, we can see what Jesus stood for. He announced a kingdom of God that is based on the indiscriminate love of God. It is a kingdom where there are no haves and have nots; a kingdom where no one is left out or excluded. It is a kingdom where justice, equality, compassion and dignity are the rights of everyone.
Jesus did not wobble when it came to expressing in word and deed the caring, saving and healing heart of God. Whenever we fail to follow Jesus in this, we wobble. Or to put it more bluntly, indifference is a sin. We live in a world where every five seconds a child dies of hunger. This is a world where more than one million children are trafficked for sex. This is a world were two million children have HIV and where about two thirds of humans struggle to have enough to eat each day. It is also a world where many have yet to hear or seen lived out the good news of Jesus, who alone brings reconciliation, hope, new beginnings and new community.
My hope and prayer is that we will, as the Uniting Church, be less and less wobbly in our convictions and compassion; less wobbly in our thinking and in our doing.
May God enable us to be more confident about the gospel, more trusting of Jesus and his power, and more prayerful and actively loving in our living each day, whatever the cost or inconvenience. May God strengthen us to be hearers and doers of God’s will in the world. May we stir and strengthen each other on this journey.
Rev Steve Francis, moderator of the Uniting Church WA