Jesus hanging on a Roman cross, forgiving those who put him there, is the most important and celebrated moment in all of human history with the only exception being the resurrection. Of course, both moments go together, really, but my point is how central and celebrated that moment is. The whole Bible points here to the love of God seen in this most forgiving act. Jesus, God’s own Son, given up for you. This man doing this act answers every sin, every guilt, every shame; it answers Adam and Eve eating from the forbidden tree; it answers Noah’s rainbow; it answers Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac, and it answers the cry at the death of the first born in the land of Egypt – a cry like has never been heard before or since. And it is there, we all hang on the words of Jesus, “Forgive them, Abba, they know not what they do.”
Without this moment, there is no Christianity. The whole earth hears and celebrates. A new heavens and a new earth dawn with a new age. Even our whole calendar is reworked around this man, his love, his death, his cry for forgiveness.
And who is he? Where does he come from? He is Isaiah’s suffering servant that we find no beauty in. A young prophet and messianic wannabe from nowhere-Nazareth followed by all manner of beggars and mobs of broken, lowly people, a man who then is railroaded through a hasty late night trial, and executed as a criminal/rebel two thousand years ago taking our punishment from us and for us and asking God to forgive us, the lynchpin to everything. This man and this moment capture our attention, as he is portrayed crucified before our very eyes and as we eat the Thank You meal.
Have I captured the import of this man and this moment in a post yet?
This is what I just don’t understand:
Four months ago (about), I found a homeless man in the blog-O-sphere. One of the most humble hearts to ever type a blog post posting how a minister from a church, a Christian leader in his community, kicked him off church property and sent him out into the rain. Right here in America, the land of plenty – a nation supposedly founded on Christian principles and blessed by God beyond all measure in all of human history!
This might pale in comparison to that other man, Jesus, but then again, this man has the fingerprints of God all over his heart and all over his expression of love, his desire to serve humbly. Yes, the homeless man was asking readers to pray for this Christian leader in a land of plenty who so callously sent the man with nothing away into the rain. And without any thought for himself, no cry for justice or self pity, the homeless man with nothing is worried about the state of the church and the soul of such a man who might do this to the weak and lowly while representing Jesus.
The grace of it stunning to behold, and I even reblogged it on my blog.
I want to draw attention to this. The purity of heart, the selfless humility, and the love of Jesus in this scene is alive and well, and this blog is a witness to it. I am so deeply blessed to write a blog featuring Jesus vis-a-vis the homeless, and then to be led to find this post and to share it with Christians all over the world.
Yet, in the four months since, this post, this love of Jesus embodied in such vulnerable and sacrificial forgiveness and request for prayer is not celebrated. Are we more concerned with ourselves? Does this loving prayer request just not rank next to our ideas about “effective charity”? What is the distraction?
It got likes by six people on two blogs.
To be sure, my blog is not the most circulated blog out there. I get that. Neither is the one where the story originated. But something very special happened here. Something greater than Corbett, Fikkert, and Lupton happened here! Yet, no one cared. (Well, not NO ONE exactly. A few, a very few.)
But the Good Book tells us that when Jesus withdrew to pray, word spread. People heard and came clamoring for more of his LOVE and the word spread like gangbusters as they poured in from Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, from beyond the Jordan and Tyre and Sidon. I mean, word got EVERYWHERE! And that is just a bush telegraph.
But a homeless man gets kicked off church property by the church leader, goes online to ask for prayers for this church leader who has done this thing, and word goes nowhere.
Somehow, I don’t think that’s the right response. I sense strongly that in heaven, this is a really BIG deal. Surely we can reflect the love of Jesus a bit better than that.
In Acts 2, on the day of Pentecost, St. Peter delivers a convicting sermon to the Jews. This man who you kicked off church property has forgiven you, and God has raised him up. (Not exactly his words, but close.)
Where are our heads? Where are our hearts? How is it that this word is not more celebrated?
If you are reading this post, I invite you to visit the original post. Take a moment and pray for this nameless Christian leader, as requested. He needs it! And thank God for this Christian witness coming from such a lowly place! Leave your “like” there and then direct your friends and family to that post. Link this to your Facebook, your Twitter, and even your church bulletin. Get the word out on this. Something greater than “effective charity” is here.