When you really think about it, you can’t truly live the Gospel without suffering some pain. Last week, I was giving some students from the United Church of Christ a tour of our church. They asked about the stations of the cross, and why we had them displayed all around. It was a good question.
Jesus said that if we wanted to be his disciple, we were going to have to pick up our cross and follow him. The stations of the cross remind us that to be a Christian means that we’re going to experience some suffering along the way.
Are you willing to be totally poor, in spirit or otherwise? Are you able to hope when every hope seems lost? Can you love when you are not being loved? Can you continue to have faith when all those around you seem to have lost it?
The Gospel calls us to love those who hate us. We are to renew the faith of those who have lost their way. We are called to bring hope and love to everyone. For these things we have been created. If we truly want to be Christian, we have to do these things.
I had never given a church tour to a group of Protestants before last week. I ended my time with them with the reminder that Jesus prayed to the Father that we would all be one, and that needed to be our prayer too.
To live the Gospel means that we have to work to restore his church. Yes, it’s the Mystical Body of Christ. Yes, it’s the people of God. But far more, it is the bride of Christ. The beautiful, incredible, bride of Christ. Behold the bridegroom, as it says it Psalms, jumping over the mountain coming to his bride. The church was born out of the death of Christ. He left it to us. He abides in it.
So, love God and your neighbor. Love yourself. Find God in all things. Love those who hate you. Be the first to forgive. And die for everybody. Start going deeper into the depths of your own heart. Not just superficially. Go deep into it.
Find ways to live the Gospel. There’s a great quote from St. Francis of Assisi to help you with this. “Proclaim the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.”
What a difference we could make if we could only keep this simple quote on the forefront of our minds.