Thought for the Week

Rutherglen Reformer - - News From The Pews -

“I am proud to be a Chris­tian.”

This was Don­ald Trump’s re­sponse when Pope Fran­cis crit­i­cized him for want­ing to build a wall to sep­a­rate Mex­ico from the USA.

The Pope said: “A per­son who thinks only about build­ing walls…and not build­ing bridges, is not Chris­tian.” How­ever, Trump then pledged that as pres­i­dent he would use the might of the US mil­i­tary to de­fend the Vat­i­can against ISIS.

Now, I have no de­sire to judge Mr Trump’s faith, and tak­ing pot-shots at his dan­ger­ous politics is just too easy, but it did strike me that any­one who can use “pride” and “Chris­tian” in the same sen­tence has in­deed missed some­thing quite fun­da­men­tal about the Chris­tian mes­sage.

What­ever the gospel is about, it isn’t about pub­licly strut­ting your stuff and protest­ing what a good Chris­tian you are (as much as we Chris­tians have some­times been guilty of that). Nor can it be about gun-toting power-pro­jec­tion.

St Paul wrote to the Corinthi­ans: “I re­solved to know noth­ing when I was with you ex­cept Je­sus Christ, and him cru­ci­fied”.

We can so eas­ily for­get, af­ter cen­turies of re­li­gious im­agery, how de­grad­ing cru­ci­fix­ion was. The Ro­mans wouldn’t even men­tion it in po­lite com­pany. And yet, from the be­gin­ning, Chris­tians pro­claimed the Lord of the Uni­verse, the one more pow­er­ful than Cae­sar him­self, chose to be hu­mil­i­ated in such a way: It was ut­terly ridicu­lous to Ro­man ears.

Yet the Chris­tian is the fol­lower of this hu­mil­i­ated Je­sus. We be­lieve that this fool­ish­ness is God’s an­swer to the pow­er­ful, the rich and the seem­ingly wise.

It’s why, when the Church of Je­sus is do­ing what it was called to do, it will al­ways look out for those so­ci­ety sees as weak and of no ac­count. It is why Chris­tians should be quick to talk of their fail­ings and not of their strength. Sadly, we too of­ten get that wrong.

We’ve just cel­e­brated Easter, a time we re­mem­ber Christ’s vic­tory and res­ur­rec­tion power. But we also re­mem­ber that be­fore that day of vic­tory Je­sus chose weak­ness, suf­fer­ing, pain and hu­mil­i­a­tion and he did it for love.

That cer­tainly sug­gests to me that the strong hu­mil­ity of Fran­cis is to be pre­ferred over the weak pos­tur­ing of Don­ald. Rev Alis­tair May Stonelaw Parish Church

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