Sunday, January 07, 2007

on familiar terms

Well, we trekked to a new church this morning, though the people were not all new to me as they were to my husband. This is the church that hosts the Celebrate Recovery meetings on Friday nights that I attend, so I did not feel like a total stranger coming in. There were familiar faces. Familiar people make me feel secure and accepted. The sermon this morning was on why churches exist. The all-encompassing reason that they do is that they are an expression and fulfillment of the two greatest commandments, to love God with all you got, and your neighbor as yourself. It is a group of people getting together to worship and to serve God and people, in a nutshell.

The pastor went on to tell about the love Jesus had for people, His acceptance of them where they were and His desire to reveal to them all they truly are. He was scolded and reviled again and again by the religious leaders of the day for hanging out with sinners. Somehow this made sense to those guys. But I have to say, until I got exposed to the prison system, I held similar prejudices. Jesus touched lepers, put Himself between an adulterous woman and the stones meant to kill her, called short, cheating tax collectors out of trees to have dinner with them, spat on blind eyes and opened them, listened to the pleas of an old woman being bled to death by doctors and a condition that kept her from ever touching another the list goes on and never ceases to amaze me that these simple stories crackle with life and could happen even this minute. We don't have many lepers any more, but we do have people with HIV, politicians never change, internet porn is rampant, people never stop needing help, never stop being lonely, never stop being exposed in the most shameful ways for doing the most shameful things. But it was Christ's concern for people that drew even the most deformed of us, inside and out, from the darkness of anonymity into the light of His love.

I have to keep remembering as His representatives today, that's my job, too. And my job starts with me, so I've decided to do as I promised-my Mom's Art link has my contact information. I added a profile, because the "joannie" was an alias. I figured, to know people, you have to let yourself be known, too. My real name is Sue (how do you do?-thanks, Johnny C.)


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