Recently a friend and I were talking about reading the Bible, and we wondered what we’d think about it if we’d only now read it for the first time. Would we find all the doctrinal points that every church holds so dearly? Would it make sense to us, and would we be persuaded that it is Truth?
So these questions are often in the back of my mind when I read my daily portion in the book I wrote about here. And very recently, while reading through John, the light clicked on in my brain, and I thought to myself, Yes! This Jesus is a man I would follow and I would believe what He says. If I would have heard Him speak and interact with people, I would definitely have been part of the crowd that followed Him.
There was something fresh and liberating in coming to that conclusion, acknowledging that this decision of following Christ is part mystery, part wistfulness, part staunch, glad faith.
Then another friend was telling something about the political shenanigans in her country. I listened because I like to hear people tell me their perspectives about politics even though I never follow the news about it. Then she asked, “So what do you tell people when they ask why you don’t vote?”
My answer went something like this: I have become acquainted with wonderful person of Christ, and He is my hero and I am following Him. He lived in very unstable political times, and He had lots of chances to start His own kingdom/political party but He didn’t. He said He was calling people to the Kingdom of Heaven. This is a place where Love dwells, not war or violence or deceit or pride and one-up-manship. I don’t have a lot of answers on all the details, but I just know that His kingdom is where I want to put my allegiance and time and interest and energy.
Then this morning I read several blogs that extolled the armed forces because of today being Memorial Day in the US, and I wanted to weep. How can violence bring peace? How can killing be laudable? I believe that there are soldiers in the military with soft hearts who want to follow Truth. But they’re part of a ghastly machine and support a kingdom that opposes the one Jesus leads.
He has won me by His love, not His power, and thus He demonstrates that Love, not guns or bombs, is the most powerful force in the world. I follow Him. Falteringly, feebly, but convinced that He is the one who deserves my allegiance. I do this because I have heard His voice in the Gospels (it IS good news) and His is not the voice of a smooth-talking politician but of a healer whose face is streaked with tears.