…is completely inconsequential. I was reading a post on Facebook tonight about an appeals court lifting a Texas ban on graduation ceremony prayer. Really? People get all kinds of exercised about the inconsequential, non-issues that are so peripheral to faith while at the same time refusing to get energized over what is important. Consider Jesus’ admonition that when we pray we should go into our rooms, close the door, and pray in secret to God who will hear our prayer. Nothing about big public prayers, in fact he was critical of those who made a public scene of their prayer and their piety saying that in achieving public recognition they had received all the reward they would get. Never mind that, self-identified “Christians” are willing to go to court for the right to say prayer in a way that Jesus told us was ineffective. Am I the only one who finds this more than a little bit odd?
Of course, the reason that self-identified “Christians” behave this way is that it costs them nothing, is very easy in that they sit on their ever expanding rear ends while lawyers do the work, and they can congratulate themselves and their like minded friends for their achievements which aren’t really achievements at all – at least, not in the eyes of Jesus. In fact, if scripture is any indication Jesus would call it all the massive waste of time that it is. Then again, it’s probably not a complete waste of time in that it keeps those people from getting up off their sofas and knocking on your door to ask you where you would go if you died tonight.
The truth is that what Jesus talked about was transforming our world and building the Kin-dom (family) of God here on Earth. He summarized his plan for doing so in Luke’s Gospel:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to preach good news to the poor,
to proclaim release to the prisoners
and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed,
and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
He must have forgotten the part about, “Litigate over nonsense on behalf of the ego.”
You see, real transformation begins at home, within each and every one of us. We must do battle with the ego, not celebrate it in a court of law. We must spend time in real prayer and meditation, not the public prayer that just puffs up the ego, but the work of meditation in the silence where God, who hears in the silence, will speak to us. As our compassion grows through our practice, we will be drawn to get up off the sofa and establish new relationships. We won’t have time for bullying others in court so they are compelled to listen to our nonsensical ramblings, we will be too busy loving others into wholeness. We will work to end poverty, violence, racism, hunger, discrimination, and all the related societal ills. Of course, doing so requires getting our hands dirty, something for which the couch potato, litigious, pseudo-Christian doesn’t have a stomach.
Jesus said something else pertinent to this topic. He said, “Many will say to me Lord, Lord, and I will answer them, ‘I never knew you.'”