"We gather in faith..."

Teaching and commentary from our pastor, Bishop Francis J. Christian

Reflections

Not long ago I saw some graffiti that read “It’s time to

take a stand!” The writer didn’t say a stand on what, on

whether one should be for or against the death penalty, be

a member of a particular political party, or lobby for

vanilla ice cream rather than chocolate at the next public

event. All that was written was that a stand was now

necessary. In the Old Testament Joshua requires the

people to decide whether they will serve the Lord or some

other God, and in the gospel Jesus asks the Apostles

whether they will stay with him or leave him as some of

the other disciples are doing. In both cases, a stand is

required. When you think about it, taking a stand is

freeing because what might have previously been grey

becomes black and white. Once you and I know where we

stand, we no longer have to hedge our bets or try to cover

all the bases. A stand, which is another way of talking

about a commitment, gives us direction and focus and

keeps us from diddling around the periphery of things.

Taking a stand frees us from wondering where to stand.

So every once in a while people of faith choose to stand

up and be counted, even when it costs us something. For

example, when minorities move into our neighborhood

we stand up to fears of declining property values and

choose not to move out. When others bulldoze the poor,

we stand firm in support of the weakest. When we’re

tempted to tinker with compromise for the sake of a

promotion, we decide to stand for the values of Jesus

instead. Most folks have opinions, believers take stands.

Of course there are others who take stands—upon comfort

or profit or even upon some transitory glitter. But stands

by believers are taken with a different vision, one of

Spirit, because we have come to recognize that it is the

Spirit who gives life and not the flesh, as Jesus reminds

us.