In nearly 2,500 posts here at C201, only two or three times have I suspended the usual format in order to respond to current events or topical concerns. This is one of those days.
Over at Thinking Out Loud today, you’ll find an article the purpose of which is to link to Stephen Mattson’s article at the Sojourners website, American Christianity Has Failed. There are also some Tweets there from respected Christian leaders. The article begins,
For the last few years Christians have been singing worship songs that include lyrics like “ keep my eyes above the waves, when oceans rise …” and yet have rejected refugees who’ve seen loved ones die beneath waves, who themselves have literally struggled to keep from drowning in oceans. Those American Christians — particularly white evangelicals — continue to sing the words: “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders …” but fail to realize the shameful irony that they’re largely responsible for refusing shelter and opportunity to some of the world’s most helpless and oppressed people.
What struck me as something appropriate here was the collection of scripture verses with which Stephen ends his article:
…The gospel of Jesus has been traded in for a narrative of fear. But the Bible keeps reminding us to right the course:
Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. (Isaiah 1:17)
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt. 25:35)
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. (Lev. 19: 33-34)
Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him. (Prov. 14:31)Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Prov. 31: 8-9)
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? (1 John 3:17)
Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. (Jer. 22:3)
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” (Zech. 7:9-10)
…How anyone can see the pictures below and determine not to respond; not to help; is totally beyond comprehension. In a global world we don’t have the luxury of saying, ‘This isn’t our problem.”
In a time before mass communication, before satellites, before the internet, we could be excused for our ignorance. But this is not that world. Images appear in our Facebook and Twitter feeds and beg us to ask the ask the question, “What would Jesus have us do;” or better, “What would Jesus have me do?”
The gospel has not reached us if we simply turn our heads, or click to something else.