Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Faith Symbols

When son-in-law John stopped by to pick up John and Becket Sunday morning, I was getting ready for church. I offhandedly commented that I like Palm Sunday then qualified my statement with, “Well,sort of...”

John immediately asked what I think Jesus would think about us picking the cross as the main symbol of Christianity.

“I’ll bet he wouldn’t have liked us symbolizing the worst day of his life. He liked fish and fishermen. I’ll bet He’d have liked the fish better.”

I assume that John had been thinking about this for a while. I had not.

I wonder how our Christianity might be different without the emphasis on the cross? Would our faith have survived 2009 plus years, give or take a few? Is the story of Jesus dying that we might have everlasting life the only way to get the point across that following his teachings is really, really hard, but necessary?

The message Jesus brought was not very different from the Ten Commandments from the Old Testament, and is even more simply stated. According to Matthew, Jesus was asked which is the greatest Commandment. He offered this Summary of the Law. “ 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” (King James version)

Pretty simple, huh? But people are still killing each other over the details of how to carry out God’s will. Some of our neighbors in far away lands are still starving to death as we sit here. We still haven’t gotten it right.

The News is telling us that there are more people with doubts about their faith than in a very long time. The more I read about injustices sanctioned and sometimes carried out by officials of the church in God's name, the heavier the bag of doubts on my back begins to be. I'm apparently not alone.

I’m glad John asks me outrageous questions. I hope somebody knows the answers.
I’m thinking right now that maybe the world needs more loaves and fishes and fewer crosses.


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