Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Reminder for Myself...and Maybe You, Too

My dad (that would be Pastor Dad) is, as many of you already know or have figured out from his screen name, a pastor. He's a good one, if I do say so myself. Part of his job description involves preaching sermons. (Free anecdote: one time, long long ago, one of my younger sisters asked my dad what his job was. Pastor Dad described all the thing he does as a pastor/preacher. Her reaction: "They pay you for that?")

Anyway, while keeping Tigger from coloring on the pew, or kicking the seat, or dropping her things on the floor (not one of Tigger's better behaved services, I must say) I managed to hear some of what my dad was preaching. I can't quote verbatim but it was along the lines of, "If you are saved there ought to be a flag flying over you showing that the King is in residence."

You see, even today wherever Queen Elizabeth II is living, there is a flag that flies above that place (Windsor, Buckingham, Balmoral). When the queen isn't there = no flag. When the queen is there = flag flying. Something similar ought to happen for those of us that call ourselves Christians. People ought to be able to tell. There ought to be something different about us, something good.

This reminded me of a quote I recently read in a magazine:

"I never read the Bible as a child, and I expected that it would be full of fire and brimstone. This notion has only been reinforced by hearing one angry, hateful person after another claim to represent all Christians, as they wagged and pounded the Bible. Reading the Bible has disabused me of any sense that a hateful person could represent this faith. The book is beautiful and exquisitely written - but it is characterized by one quality that colors every page: love." - actor Ben Affleck
Don't misunderstand why I'm quoting this. I am fully aware that some of what Christians must speak out against may be characterized by "hate speech" in our increasingly humanistic culture. What I am saying is: I suspect Mr. Affleck has never known a true Christian who demonstrated the love of Christ; or, at the very least, not one who did it very well. That's sad.

And before you start saying, "That's right! What an awful heathen he must be," please consider whose problem it is. It isn't Mr. Affleck's. Seems to me I recall something in the Bible about us being the ones who are supposed to go out, not about them being the ones supposed to wander in. (Before you go running off to introduce yourself to Mr. Affleck, understand that you may end up in jail. Or, at least have your motives closely questioned and scrutinized. The man is, I understand it, a movie star, after all.)

How, exactly, am I being salt if I'm content to sit in my comfy little salt shaker? Or how am I being light if I paint my lampshade black? Easy answer: I am not. And no amount of excuse making ("I'm not a people person", being my usual one) is going to actually excuse me. We cannot afford to let secularists define what a Christian is. I would (almost) love it if I heard people saying, "Yeah, Christians are just a crazy, fussy bunch of hypocrites. Except for that girl I know, she's just about the most loving person I've actually met. There's something different about her."

If we're going to turn the world upside down, like the early Christians did (It's in the Bible!) then we are going to have to get started where we are and with the people we already know. My contacts may be limited as I care for my home and raise my children. But I want my "King in Residence" flag to be flying for those paths I do cross. And no, I'm not suggesting that we can "get people saved" or force anyone to believe anything. I'm not talking about trickery or illusions, or more "gospel lite".

I'm talking about the real deal: I can introduce them to my Savior. I can explain why I believe what I believe. I can explain what difference it makes. I can stretch myself out of my comfort zone (people who look like me, talk like me, act like me) so that my "King in Residence" flag is not just something only I know about.

**Thanks for letting God talk to me through your words tonight, Dad. I promise I was paying attention, even if half my strength was holding your granddaughter still in the pew.**

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Just so you know- I see your flag all the time, and it has made a considerable difference in my life. You've done much more for me than I could ever begin to thank you for.

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