“A church that doesn’t provoke any crisis, a gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin, a word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin of the society in which it is being preached-what kind of gospel is that? Very nice, pious considerations that don’t bother anyone, that’s the way many would like preaching to be. Those preachers who avoid every thorny matter so as not to be harassed, so as not to have conflicts and difficulties, do not light up the world they live in.”
~ Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador assassinated on March 24, 1980
Most Christians don’t talk like this today. We are neither hot nor cold but rather lukewarm in our convictions (The Revelation 3.16). We don’t hold fast to any truth for fear that we might offend and appear to be out of touch or out of date. Unfortunately, the Church is no longer made up of social misfits and outcasts but those who seek to fit in at any cost, always wanting to be apart of the in crowd. There are more Judases in our pews than Jeremiahs today. We are more self- interested than God- centered, more politically aligned than theologically grounded.
It seems, at least for me, as if the Church is having a sort of mid- life crisis, returning to the foolishness of her youth as if she has missed out on something by being the Church. Not satisfied with her proclamation of Christ’s gospel, she seeks to change her message in order to be accepted. She behaves as if she can be someone else, as if her going into the world somehow changes who she is. But, because Christ is, we are. She does not exist apart from Christ. The Church is Christ’s bride despite her attempts to appear unwed.
And how often have we offended Christ when we have held our tongues and withheld our convictions for fear of abandonment, conflict or being ostracized? How often have we denied Christ in our nonchalant, casual acceptance of other spiritual truths? Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14.6). How many of us would repeat his words to others? And if we cannot, then how can we continue to call ourselves Christians? If we do not believe that he is who he says that he is, if we disapprove of his teaching and are afraid to share his message, how do we continue to identify ourselves as his disciples? Oh, how dark the world has become and how dim the light of our lives because of the silence of the Church and its members.
Precious Lord, it is my prayer that my words spoken in Your name and as Your messenger would provoke, unsettle and get under the skin of those I meet, that it would address the sin of society and not let it pass by unacknowledged. Oh, may I light up the world for You, Lord. Amen.