The news headlines screamed at me today.
"I'm the Victim!" - Jerry Sandusky
"20% of U.S. have no religious preference" - Pew Research
"Enter our city at your own risk" - Detroit Police Association
How do we live in a world like this? How do we be a Church at a time like this? John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, offered three simple rules for living. At the risk of making us all sound like Switzerland, let me highlight what they are and how they might change the world one home at a time.
Do No Harm
What if each of us woke up every morning and prayed that God would guide us away from hurting others? Even for one day! That we would not say hurtful things, tell hurtful lies, or refuse to erupt in anger at the slightest provocation. What if we wouldn't criticize anyone, even if we think they deserve it?
We cannot live a life focused upon what not to do. So Pastor Wesley suggests that we focus on doing good. To share a glass of cold water, to affirm someone for their kind deed, or to offer help to someone in a difficult circumstance. It may shock the heck out of someone, but it will certainly brighten their dreary day.
Stay in Love with God
I think Wesley added this one to remind us that we can't Do No Harm or Do Good on our own. We are human after all. But God can do it through us...if we let him. We can breathe in the first line of the Prayer of St. Francis; "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace...." We can recognize that this is how Jesus lived, and he would proudly blush to know that we tried to emulate him.
The news headlines will probably not announce our kinder and gentler posture. We're not likely to see "Some Guy was Really Nice Today!" But God will know, the recipient of our kindness will know, and we will humbly realize that this is really how we want to live our lives.
See you in Church,