There has been a hymn that has been running through my head for a while now. It's a beautiful hymn that I sang in church many times as a child.
“They will know we are Christians by our love...”
Sadly it seems in this world, people know Christians not by our love but by our intolerance. I'm very thankful that my church which is a member of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is very tolerant. ELCA by a whole is welcoming to LGBTQ people. Each church has to decide on their own if they want to perform same sex marriages, a vote that overwhelming passed in favor of at a meeting not that long ago in my congregation.
With the decision out of Indiana this week, it seems like intolerance is still alive and well. Against gay and trans people, against people of color and of women. As same sex marriage is sweeping the nation, some people seem to want to hold on to their prejudices. I don't think that is what Jesus wanted us to do.
Right before the school year started, our church gave all the kids going into Kindergarten a story Bible, including Emily. We've been reading a story or two out of it nearly every night since she got it. We actually finished the Bible last night and are going to start from the beginning at Emily's request.
As I have been reading these stories with her, I'm stuck by the kind of person Jesus is. He hung out with people who many thought were undesirable. And he showed them love. Being loving and kind and caring is what Jesus and God want us to do.
People are people, and they should be treated with respect. Some people might live their lives in a way you don't agree with, but we aren't here to judge other people. Yes, we may judge other people but that's because we are all flawed humans. We are all sinners – something I think some Christians forget.
I have friends of all types and I love them all. We are friends because of similar interests and I'm not going to judge them or think they are wrong for living their lives they way they do. I feel as long as you aren't an axe murderer or abusive, you are good. Yes, some people are different religions or don't have a religion at all. Some have differences in sexual orientation or don't fit with the gender they were born with. None of these things make someone a bad person or in the need of saving. We just need to love them as Jesus loves us.
Today is Maundy Thursday, the day of the Last Supper. Tomorrow is Good Friday, the day Jesus died for us. I feel like he would open his arms and love everyone. A lot of so called Christians out there remind me of the Priests and Pharisees who ended up killing Jesus.
As I finish my personal walk through holy week, I pray that tolerance can become the norm someday. People can get so caught up in hate for some reason, but love can be so much more powerful and so much more rewarding. And maybe someday again people will know Christians for our love.