What Would Jesus Do?
This is a question that many Christians ask themselves, especially in times of great uncertainty and stress. In this time of pandemic, unprecedented in our lifetime, how is Christ calling us to respond?
It is a question that both challenges us and should humble us. We are God’s children. We are called to be Christ in our world, but we are not God unto ourselves. We are fallible human beings – confession and forgiveness are required in abundance. We can all use more grace.
Perhaps the most powerful (and simplest) answer to that question is “love.” When quizzed about the greatest commandment, Jesus declared: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” “All the law and the prophets” Jesus continued, “depend on these two commandments.”
Love is the lens through which we are to view the entirety of scripture. All that we do must have that love – love of God and neighbor – as its foundation. And yet we struggle with this command, don’t we? Not just because God intends for us to love all our neighbors, even the ones we may find unlovable, but, frankly, it can be difficult to know how to best love someone.
How do we best love our neighbor during a pandemic? How do we balance all the competing needs? How do communities of faith balance both the spiritual and physical health (which are deeply connected in scripture) of our congregations and our community more broadly? These are not easy questions, but ones that leaders inside and outside the church have been struggling with for months.
Thankfully, as often as I am disheartened by the news, my hope has been restored over and over again when I see God’s love burst into our world. I have seen that love in our health care workers, tirelessly serving their communities so bravely. I have seen that love in all those working to keep essential services going, including those who work in grocery stores, markets, and restaurants. I have seen that love in churches, schools, and other organizations as they have stretched themselves in new ways, learning how to preach, teach, and serve remotely, digitally. I have seen God’s love when organizations take all those necessary precautions to reopen safely, to protect workers and the general public.
We may not be blessed with Christ’s perfection, but we may still be signs of Jesus’ love and grace. May God grant us patience and creativity in this difficult time, because our world needs that love and grace now more than ever.
James Muske is pastor at Bethesda Lutheran Church of Malmo.