How Jesus Saves The World


The other day, I saw a thought-provoking post on social media from an avowed atheist I follow.  

I started following him a few years ago out of curiosity. Then, to my surprise, I discovered that some of his posts resonated with me and helped me ask excellent questions about my faith. 

I'm going to show the content of the post: 

Hindus have been waiting for Kalki for 3,700 years.
Buddhists have been waiting for Maitreya for 2,600 years.
The Jews have been waiting for the Messiah for 2500 years.
Christians have been waiting for Jesus for 2000 years.
Sunnah waits for Prophet Issa for 1400 years.
Muslims have been waiting for a messiah from the line of Muhammad for 1300 years.
Shiites have been waiting for Imam Mahdi for 1080 years.
Druze have been waiting for Hamza ibn Ali for 1000 years.
 
Most religions adopt the idea of a “savior” and state that the world will remain filled with evil until this savior comes and fills it with goodness and righteousness. 
Maybe our problem on this planet is that people expect someone else to come solve their problems instead of doing it themselves.

This is an honest and appropriate critique.  But while I am sure that many expressions of the religions listed in the post are "so heavenly minded, they aren't any earthly good," there are also some that are much more balanced. 

I can only speak to Christianity because that is my tradition.  

I currently lead a particular congregation that looks toward a day when the world will be made right but also does everything imaginable to make it as right as possible now. 

Granted, there are plenty of Christian traditions that go a different direction and, in my opinion, get led astray by bad theology.  It's an easy trap to fall into when the world seems so out of joint.  

It also absolves adherents from responsibility and, sadly, can turn them into self-serving isolationists when it comes to their faith.  We are seeing this happen in Christianity here in the U.S. at an alarming rate. 

Recently, I read a fantastic quote from author Joyce Rupp about this very thing: 

We can’t just sit on the roadside of life and call ourselves followers of Jesus. We are to do more than esteem him for his generous love and dedicated service. We do not hear Jesus grumbling about the challenges and demands of this way of life. We do not see him “talking a good talk” but doing nothing about it. He describes his vision and then encourages others to join him in moving those teachings into action. 

I also need to say this: 

Putting our faith into action to do our best to live as Jesus would have us live in our world isn't an example of "woke" Christianity; it is Christianity- at least Christianity as it should be. 

You see, you can long for a day when the shalom of God, as described by Jesus, will permeate all of Creation, and you can also work to bring that shalom to the world to fulfill that longing right here, right now. 

The vision of my church is Love God, Love Everybody, which represents this balance.  You show your love for God by loving everybody that God loves.  And if you can't bring yourself to truly love everybody that God loves, you might not love God as much as you think. 

And so we follow Jesus rather than sit on the roadside.  We put our faith into action to do everything we can to bring hope to the hopeless, healing for the broken, and inclusion for those left on the outside.  

We don't need to pine for a future savior---our savior, our rescuer, our example, has already saved, rescued, and shown those who follow him how to live.  

May it be so.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us now and forever. Amen. 


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