Just Like Jesus

It was just like yesterday, when the world was filled with despots struggling with each other for power, when economic classes typified the struggles between the “haves” and the “have nots,” and the walls of racial and religious prejudice were flagrantly making themselves known.  Now unless you accidentally are thinking this was yesterday or last week, these all describe the time long ago that were active when Jesus entered the scene.

It was exactly the same as it is today, or at least it certainly feels that way.  There are gross economic disparities, there is great divisions between races and skin colors, and there are still difficulties between the sexes in our day today.  It seems that almost nothing is any different, and it forces us to have it called to our attention that the world Jesus was literally born into is the same as the world we see all around us.  It is not an unusual effect of the times “back then” but more a continuing picture of what the human race looks like.

I think it safe to assume the same Jesus who came and spoke to the disciples of the day back then speaks as well to us today.  The parable stories that Jesus made famous, still are applicable today.  That also means the words and messages that those words brought with them are still in play today.  Jesus continues to bring the will of God to bear upon His people despite the fact that the people are most likely going to reject it.

Jesus heals the untouchable.  He speaks to the Samaritan woman, who was the “wrong” person to be dealing with at the well from a variety of factors.  He sided with the poor at almost every opportunity, despite accusations that they were all unclean.  Jesus made unpopular decisions at almost every turn, because His task was the annunciation of the Kingdom’s coming into existence with His presence.  We know the history lesson here-Jesus was rejected much as He probably would be today, if the circumstances would find themselves recreated.

If the situations have not really changed, then I would begin to want to argue that the message of Jesus is spot on for today.  What He said then, applies to us today.  His words establishing a new reign of God’s love into and throughout the entire known world are exactly appropriate for the moment.  This moment as well as every moment the from the past.

The words of Jesus, as well as the actions He demonstrated those words by each and every day He walked this earth, model God’s Will and God’s intent for His creation.  Our task might best be served once again by clearing our “theological decks” and getting back to the words and deeds of Jesus.  They are to be the model for living our lives.  To allow a broad faith descriptor like “Christian” might not even be pointed enough.  For those who would be followers of Jesus and “do-ers of the Word” as James tells us in his letter, we must get back to the basics.

To that end, we need to walk as Jesus walked.  Slow to anger, quick to show pity and mercy, suspending our human need to be judgmental, and actively showing love to one another- all these might best describe what we need to be concerned about accomplishing.

Being just like Jesus.



Peanut Butter and Jelly Gang

Have you ever had a chance to make 750 Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches?  Tonight, some of the folks from Waterside-Rockport had a chance to do just that.  We were invited by St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church Smithtown, NY to take part in their monthly Peanut Butter and Jelly Gang.  The members of St. Andrews have gathered together once a month for the last 16 years to assemble PB&J sandwiches, which are then taken to a local homeless shelter.  Those at the shelter are provided with a meal, a warm place to sleep for the night and when they leave the next day they are given a PB & J sandwich and a “wash kit.”  Tonight there were about 50 volunteers, not only church members but also from the community, South Dakota and Texas, spreading peanut butter and jelly, packaging them up in baggies and boxes, laughing, making friends, and serving their community.  In a little less than 1 hour 750 sandwiches were made, boxed up and ready to provide at least a little bit of nourishment for the homeless.   This type of caring for the community puts legs and feet on the Gospel of Jesus Christ for “the least of these.”  What a blessing to be a part of such a simple, yet meaningful outreach.