I would like to speak with you about the Christ of the human road. I’m talking about a Christ not unaccustomed with your suffering, a man who was branded By His critics as a social outcast, a non-conformist to a half-hearted kind of faith, that accepted that there could be carnal lusts and desires and spirituality at the same time.
The Christ I know with all of my heart spoke the truth plainly and simply. He told it like it is. He never sugar-coated the truth, so it would be accepted. No, this man of sorrows acquainted with grief called people to a whole-hearted faith, one that is bold and alive, filled with meaning and an unflinching and unyielding purpose.
He is the Christ of the human heart. He hears you as you call out to Him. He feels the tears you cry in your anger at how life has been so unfair, how circumstance upon circumstance keeps crashing down around you, how you feel you can’t go on one more step.
You who have been abused and still are, the dejected, rejected, lonely, despairing, hurting, those with deep, penetrating anxiety, the Christ of Gethsemane who felt abandonment, abuse and rejection, wants you to know that He loves you with an everlasting love, that you are so very dear to His heart. Not one tear you’ve shed has gone unnoticed. Not one fist you’ve raised in anger to your Lord or one shout of unrelenting pain has gone unseen. The Christ of the human road, who for three years walked the valley of suffering and the mountaintop of joy as many were won to the Father, calls out to You. Do you hear Him? Do you hear Him?
Oh, how He called me today to share with all of you, that the Christ of the Cross wants you to come to Him just as you are, whatever you are doing, and ask Him into your life. Those who know Him, He wants you to know Him better, to have you believe not just with your mind, but your heart, that you can know Him unlike you ever have. When Jesus says cast every care upon Him, He means it. When your Lord says that He loves you with an everlasting love, He means it. When the Christ of Calvary says you can receive the gift of holiness, He means it.
Not once when Christ walked upon this earth did He fail to keep one of His promises. He healed the sick, made the lame to walk and gave sight to the blind. Yet, that far greater gift Christ left all of His disciples, apostles, followers and all of us, is the gift of a spiritual sight that sees between the lines of what people say is wrong, and knows the truth, knows the real reason for their deepest inner pain and suffering.
The Christ who gave every fabric of His being in service to suffering humanity and to the rich, poor and the learned calls out to You. Will you take His hand?
I pray with all of my heart that you will. Let this be a new day where you come to truly know the Christ of the human road and our divine sufferer, the man of sorrows acquainted with grief. The Christ who wants you to know Him with all of your heart, mind, strength and soul.
You see, that’s the Christ I know and admittedly sometimes in my own struggles fail to fully remember. He is the Christ who has been with me through abuse, poverty and eight intubations. He is the Christ who has blessed me with a loving family and too many friends to count. He is the Christ who brought my wife, Karen, into my life. What a gift He gave me in her! She’s my shield-mate,my constant companion and as the Irish would say, she’s my forever cara friend.
He’s the Christ who provided essential medications I needed to live when government bean counters devoid of compassion denied me the right, the right that all people should have for the medications they need not merely to survive, but to thrive, to have a life filled with realistic hope of a new and brighter tomorrow filled with possibilities, not a life of struggling, clawing, spirit-killing, joy-stealing existence. That is the kind of life that my Lord believes is the fundamental right of every human-being upon this earth. This injustice and inhumanity to all the poor and suffering needs to stop.
We are not called to a namby-pamby meek and mild Christianity. When something is wrong we need to stand up and be counted and say it’s wrong. We need to fight the best we can with God’s help to make it right. We need to have a burning and undying compassion for everyone, the poor and the rich. We need to stand with those who suffer and while we do that we need to work, pray and believe together for a better, kinder and more just society.
I am reminded in listening to the eulogy of Ted Kennedy of his brother, Robert, of those stirring words that are a quote from the playwright, George Bernard Shaw. “Some men see things as they are and say, Why? I dream things that never were and say, Why not?”
The kind of Christ I know calls us to a new way of thinking about life, of the call that should be in every beating heart for a more loving and giving society, who uses its vast resources to help the least fortunate, and gives a shining and undying hope to those who are losing their hope, who can’t go on that one more step, who are ready to stop living and stop dreaming, stop praying and hoping for a kinder and gentler world, where no man, woman or child is left behind, where joy, love and hope can live again, where a Russian mother no longer has to die clutching her Bible to her chest, the gnawing and agonizing death of starvation, where a pastor in Malawai no longer has to go without food for him, his family or his congregation, where no child is no longer sold into sexual slavery, where no mother has to look into the eyes of her child and pray for the mercy of her child’s death, so she no longer has to see her child die the death of a thousand cuts, of a thousand and one indignities to mind, spirit, body and soul, where the convict, addict and those of color are judged by their character and not by the color of their skin, a world where no dream is too large, no hope for a realistic and brighter tomorrow is unattainable. Why? Because we keep on fighting for all I have mentioned and those I have not. We stay in the trenches with them holding their hand, being there for them, praying them through the crisis until they can see that shining ray of undeniable hope, that comes from working, striving and believing together that such a world is not a fantasy, but real and achievable because we never gave up, we never stopped believing, we never stopped praying for such a bold, brave and beautiful new world together, together, together.
He is the Christ who provided groceries through loving friends, a cup of hot coffee and their unyielding, unflinching, tireless compassion. He’s the Christ of my heart, soul, mind and life, who has been with me through every circumstance, every time I was ready to give up, every moment, every second I felt I could go on no longer.
When I gave my life to Christ over 30 years ago I said He could have all of me, every ounce of my energy. He called me to bring many out of their pit of seething and crippling despair and hopelessness to sing a song of hope, the hope that can’t be found in a god, but the one and only true God. Not faith of the power within ourselves, but a faith that lives and breathes, fights on that one more day, because a hope neither the world can explain or understand is the gift our Lord offers freely to us from His heart. You can’t buy this gift. All your acts of kindness and worldly nobility won’t earn it. It’s a gift that only requires you to reach out for it, accept it. Will you?
Oh, how I want you to know that Christ! My Father called me to write this message to you. Know that as you call out to Him, the Lord who hears your every heartbeat, the Lord who cries when you cry, the Lord who laughs when you laugh, wants to be very real to you.
Hear Him, I pray, as He calls to you right now, right this very second, that today can be a new day, a re-birth, a renewal from within, a gift of His agape love, that asks that you take a leap of faith and open that door, the key to your heart, your circumstances and your very life.
Lord, I pray this message will sink into every heart, especially mine. I lift up my hands in thanks for being the God of my heart and my life.
Let us prayerfully reflect on the words of the song below. Please write to any one of us you feel led to, to help you in the struggles you are facing. We will rejoice with you in your victories and cry with you in all you’re experiencing. Remember. Always remember, the Christ of Gethsemane and the Christ of the Cross stands with you, even when you think He does not.
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord be gracious unto you. The Lord make the face of His countenance shine upon you and grant You His peace now and forevermore. Amen.
Posted in Rethinking
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