Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mercenary Christians

Good Afternoon

Our small corner of the world has caught the fad (and I hope it's a passing one!) of the backlit signs upon which a business, church or whatever can post thought-provoking, or even idiotic messages, and sometimes their business or worship service schedules. I really think they may be traffic hazards as one is tempted to read them while driving.


I managed to read the sign posted outside of one of our local denominations, and it is sitting like a burr under the saddle.

"Respect people. It comes back"

We are made, all of us, in the image and likeness of God. We are all due respect for that, if for nothing else. As Christians, we are to remember this even if the person being respected does not recognize their own value as human beings.

We are to see Christ in everyone. Sometimes it will be Christ suffering we see, but we still must see Him somehow.

While it may be true that respecting people will 'come back' in the sense that we will be respected for the respect we pay others, this should never be the reason we do it.

It should be for Christ that we do it. Remember "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me".

Matthew 5:43-47 tells us that if we love only those who love us back, we are no better than a pagan, or a publican (depends which bible you're reading). Anyone can love someone who loves (or respects) him back.

We are called to more. Mother Teresa was, in my thoughts, a good example. She cared for those who could offer her little or nothing in return. These people were often very close to death when coming into her care. Yet she and her sisters worked joyfully with them. In fact reading some of Mother Teresa's writings and writings about her one gets the impression that she found a lot of the recognition she received to be a nuisance.

Yes, respect may come back to us as we cast it out, but to a Christian, whether or not respect comes back is irrelevant.

God Bless

Monday, February 08, 2010

Christian Life: A Study in Plaster

Several years back, Someone passed on to me a very battered statue of Jesus. The thought was "She'll know what to do with it". This poor thing had no hands, and was chipped all over

When blessed objects (and I assumed that this statue was blessed) outlive their usefullness and/or are damaged, the correct disposal method is to burn or bury them.

I'm not always quick to get things done. This poor statue sat on the piano for quite some time.

Then I heard the story about another hands-free statue. It was said that this statue was a reminder to Christians that we are Christ's hands and feet in the world. Very neat!

I kept the statue. Then it occurred to me that the chips might be a symbol too. As we are out and about being Christ's hands in the world, we are probably going to get rather battered. No one said Christian life is easy.

We need to remember to offer up those dings and bruises to God so he can use our sufferings for the good of others.

I love being Catholic.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Food for Thought

The other day I was unwrapping a stringy cheese snack. I noticed that the wrapper had instructions for making a little craft-thing with the cheese before one ate it.

Didn't your mother ever tell you not to play with your food?

I couldn't help but think of this teaching! Perhaps I date myself.

At any rate, I can't escape the mental image of grimy little midday hands playing with the magnet-like cheese stick to "peel" it into various creatures.

Have the rules changed?

I realized that this is very much like what Jesus suggested to his followers. I think He was warming people up when He chastised the Pharisees for complaining that Jesus' followers did not wash their hands in the ritual way before they ate their meals. (This, btw, was not saying it was okay to eat with dirty hands. It had to do with the role of tradition in ones life. I suppose the makers of stringy cheese are not saying it's okay to eat with dirty hands, either)

Jesus eventually went on to declare that unless His followers eat his flesh and drink his blood they will not have life within them.

Jews are prohibited from drinking blood, any blood. And to eat human flesh? Unthinkable.

But we are commanded to do this in memory of Jesus.

It is necessary to examine rules from time to time. Do they still fulfill the need for which they were instituted? Which authority is placing the rule? Is it legitimate?

God's rules, as presented through the Catholic Church and Scripture, are legitimate. In things like hand-washing and playing with your food, your mother is a legitimate authority, too!