Tonight I led a Lenten Study on “Making Choices” with the topic: What Would Jesus Do? Honestly, I was thinking “Good Grief, how lame can you get, Candi?” But it turned out to be the total opposite of lame. Every person in the room was fully engaged including me. We had some of the best discussion we’ve had in I don’t know when.
A lot of our discussion revolved around martyrs. I was trying to get across to them that the original meaning of martyr was someone who witnessed to or took a stand for what they believed to be the truth, but over the centuries that word has taken on a decidedly pejorative connotation. Martyrs at best are people who have died (or at least been severely persecuted and possibly tortured) for their faith, and at worst martyrs are people who always have it so much worse than everyone else or who are unnecessarily self-sacrificing. And they whine.
The thing is, we are called to be martyrs. We are called to witness to what we believe and take a stand for the truth. Why? That’s what Jesus did. That discussion (and obviously I left a lot of it out here), was based on the “take up your cross and follow me” story in Matthew. The other half of our discussion was based on the Jesus washing the feet of his disciples story in John. What Would Jesus Do? He’d be a servant to any and everyone.
I wish you could have been there for the whole thing. It really lifted me up and inspired me just to be a part of it. I didn’t feel like I was leading it myself. It felt more like my job to get out of the way of the Holy Spirit at work.
You just never know. About the time we think we have working for God figured out we get hit upside the head with something that proves we don’t have a clue. We can plan, we can study, we can pray over it for hours, but when it comes right down to it the Holy Spirit is in charge. Or oughta be. If we let her.
Today’s reading is Psalm 147: 12-20. It’s about all these fabulous things that God does for us because we are God’s people, like straightening the bars on our gates. How did those bars get crooked in the first place? Was something/someone trying to force himself into the city? Or out of the city? And why did God straighten the bars again? To keep us in or out?
Some group is always trying to force us to believe what they believe or to behave they way they want us to behave (and notice I didn’t say to behave the way they behave because often these rules don’t seem to apply to them the way they supposedly apply to us.) What would Jesus do? He’d stand up for the truth. He’d rebuke those who tried to tempt us to further our own interests at the expense of others’ interests. He wouldn’t act as if he were smarter, braver, or a better class of person. He would strap on a towel and start washing feet and serving.
Called to be a Martyr. Maybe I can get the t-shirt franchise.