The forgotten sermon
It seems like the world is going crazy these days. Truth has been replaced with alternative facts, children manufacture $350 basketball shoes, and a cup of coffee goes for fourbucks these days. America has children in cages at its borders, and drops thousands of bombs on other countries every single year in the name of patriotism.
Don’t worry, this post isn’t about politics. There’s far too much talk about politics these days, and I don’t think debates do a damn thing. Your side. My side. His side. Her side. Their side. We’re all on the Titanic.
It’s been over a decade since my conscious divorce from organized religion. In the past decade, I’ve gone through many, many conversations with others about religious practices, dogma, theology, and the ever-present question:
“Do you believe in God?”
Frankly, it doesn’t matter what I believe in. Actions speak a whole lot louder than spiritual belief.
This post is about a sermon, or two, that often goes forgotten in modern America.
I’m not sure why this sermon isn’t taught very often, or practiced. Truth be told, if it were, the modern day church would be revolutionary, blameless, and seen around the world as examples of what it means to be righteous – whatever the hell that is.
It goes something like this:
If you have two coats, give one away….If a man asks you to walk one mile, go with him two instead.”
See, I grew up with lessons condemning those who practice ‘shades’ of gray. E.g. there is black and white, truth and lie, right and wrong. No middle ground.
If that’s the case, why is context and subjectivity poured over sermons like the above?
If you look at life through the lens of this sermon, can you really justify the millions spent by churches on sound systems, light shows, and expansive buildings that are only used a few days a week – while hundreds of thousands sit homeless in America – and beyond?
The way I see it, the practice of generosity to all and treating them like family far outweighs whatever religious doctrine you claim to follow.
After all, sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.
Imagine a world where churches, and all of its attendees practiced the above sermon – counting their coat closets and giving away their excess. Opening their homes to those who had none. Sharing their table with those who have no food.
Imagine a world where acts of service went beyond the occasional good deed, but were a daily practice.
One of the most powerful sermons Jesus ever taught was the parable of the wealthy man who entered a place of worship. He was welcomed to sit at the front, treated with respect and dignity. Whereas the poor man was placed in the back. Apparently that’s where the sound system triangulates best….
Jesus already existed as a man. Chances are, he’s already come back a million times to see if you’re ready to accept him – and treat him like a king.
He’s the homeless man on the corner, who has no hope, place to shower, or family to take him in.
He’s the kid sitting in the corner of the lunchroom, holding back tears because nobody will talk to him.
He’s the children sitting in cages – begging for you to let ‘him’ out.
He’s no longer dying on a cross – but shielding children with his own body while star-spangled planes drop bombs on their village.
Jesus is already here. And he’s asking you to count your coats, the number of cars in your garage, or the money you’re saving for a rainy day.
He’s wondering – do you love me? How many coats are in your closet?
How many shoes?
Feed my sheep.
Every. Single. Day.