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How can I BE Christ in the world?

This is one of those weeks where I’m thinking “Well, I didn’t really do anything to be Christ.”  Sure, I did a lot of stuff. But did any of it matter?

Well, everything matters, I suppose. But that doesn’t change how I feel.

Mostly I’m just really tired lately. I wake up (not early enough) and go to work. When I get home, I feel sleepy and/or physically ill. And so I revert to being selfish. I don’t want to do anything that involves getting up and moving, either for myself or for others. I do things on the computer. I read and process email, and blog, and keep my calendar current. I do things for the Portland WordPress User Group, or for the local community dinner. But I push housework and gardening and things that would actually help my family out of my mind.

Summer was great. I could take things at my own pace. But right now, I really need help managing this.

It’s Friday. I’m worn out. But tomorrow is September 11, and I promised I’d do a post.

September 11 is the anniversary of a horrific event. I don’t generally take special notice of the date. I don’t have a loved one to remember, and it doesn’t rouse any feelings of patriotism in me.

I am still sad about it. Sad that so many people died. Sad that other people could hate our country so much. And sad that over the years, many people have used this event to justify hating and even killing others.

I’m sad because I believe wholeheartedly that this is not the way to live.

I’m a follower of Jesus, and Jesus is very clear on this.

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

“But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

“But I tell you, anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.”

(all quotes from Matthew 5, New International Version)

So I’m sad when others who claim the name of Christ instead follow the way of hate, fear and anger. I believe there is another way: the Way of Love. And I believe that there is an abundance of love among God’s people; enough to overcome the fear and hatred!

For example:

Carl Medearis practices the Way of Love by meeting with and befriending leaders of Hezbollah, an Islamist group regarded by the U.S. as a terrorist organization.

Christian Peacemaker Teams have been living and working in Iraq since before the U.S.-led invasion. They are currently working with displaced people in the Kurdish region.

Christian Peacemakers also live and work in Israel/Palestine, walking Palestinian children safely to school, monitoring treatment of Palestinians at security checkpoints, replanting olive groves, and more.

Also:

People responded so strongly to the gas explosion and fire in San Bruno, California last night that within 24 hours enough food, clothing and supplies had been donated. They didn’t need any more. No, I have no idea how many of the donors were Christians! Does it matter? I think it still counts.

And there are many others, Christian and non-Christian, who practice this Way of Love.

However, we all fall short, too. I do it all the time. I become angry, snap at others, and often feel justified in my anger. I mean, it’s OK to be angry with people want to burn the Q’uran, or who hate on cyclists, or who are otherwise small-minded, right?

Oops. That’s not the Way of Love, either. But God’s grace lets us start over and try again, whether our transgressions are big or small. Which means two things: that I get a second chance, and that I have to be willing to give others a second chance. That I have to love them.

This post is part of a 9/11 Campaign of Goodwill organized by author Sarah Cunningham. If you’d like to take part, write a blog post, tweet, or Facebook status communicating your own message of goodwill.

I just now wrote this as a creative writing exercise. But it’s a true story. Make of it what you will.

The sheer rock wall stretched along the side of the ravine. Above and below, the ravine was equally steep. And back? Back was a long way. We chose to go forward, one at a time, toes clinging to the earth below the rock, bodies hugging the wall.

I slipped on the way over, grabbing the edge of the rock, my feet scrabbling for a moment. But I didn’t go down the hillside, and neither did anyone else.

We named that place Hell, because we didn’t know where we were or how soon we would get out of it. But we did eventually. We had to spend the night outdoors, in the middle of a forest road, and then next day, we found that we were closer than we’d thought; if we had kept going down the road we might have found our way out that night.

But in the dark, we couldn’t see enough to know that, so we stayed out, shivering, huddled by a tiny campfire. And in the morning, we knew just where to go.