Our imaginations are mired deep within community. This may be a wonderful time filled with a diversity of voices promising spiritual gifts. This gives us the false promise of comfort, ease, and security that eases our minds. Our society has taught and trained us to be very selfish and protective of our privacy, forgetting about the stranger at our door. Early Christians, what I call original Christians opened their doors to all as taught by Jesus.
But somewhere along the way, our Christian faith changed; now we shun these people and leave the hospitality to the church or the government, and both of these do a less than terrible job of welcoming the stranger in need. This means that we are vulnerable to misguided solutions and promises; it is at this time that we must open our hearts to the word of God, allowing the brilliance of His lighted path for us to follow.
This path is a promise from God who loves us as His children, and the selfish covetous world cannot deprive us of it. As we walk this lighted path, the gift of life given by God is eternal, for us and our children. Remember, Jesus did not hobnob with the wealthy and privileged; he lived and worked with the poor and forgotten, the sinner and the outsider. And for this and His teachings, they killed Him.
If we want to be as faithful as God, accepting God’s grace and forgiveness, we have to resist the temptation to keep God and His promises at a distance and allow God to truly be a part of our lives. It is time for us to leave our comfort zones and do the difficult things that God asks. This begins with loving our neighbor as ourselves. We are the stranger.
Each morning, I ask myself if I walk the lighted path of grace that God provides for me. I ask if I have helped enough; I ask if I have loved enough. Have I taken God’s values as my own; have I adopted His Spirit in my life; is my attitude toward others anyway similar to what Jesus modelled. And I have failed; but I have tried.
©Russell Kendall Carter
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