Stand or Sit

According to a recent definition I came across, a blog (a truncation of the expression weblog) is a discussion or informational site published on the internet consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first).  Sounds complicated, doesn’t it?  Well, put simply, a blog is an ongoing diary or commentary written by an individual.  In this case, this blog will be written by me as kind of like a diary of how I see life in the congregation, church, community and world.  See this as a place where faith meets the world.  And in fact, this is what Jesus was all about…bringing his personal identity and love of God and neighbor into the world.
My hope is to post a new blog once a month that may include stories, some humor, questions to ponder, food for thought, nuggets or pearls of wisdom, tales of faith, hope and love.  I have dubbed this blog page “What We Have Seen and Hearne.”  Hopefully, you get the play on words, there!
Recently, my wife Amy, sister-in-law Kate and myself went to Soldier Field for a pre-season game between the Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs.  Even though I was born and raised in Chicago, I am a diehard Chiefs fan.  Amy, of her own free will, roots for the Chiefs.  We figured this might be the closest we get geographically to seeing the Chiefs play this year.  It was a meaningless game which the Chiefs won 23-7.  Before the game started, though, fans were asked to stand, remove their caps and join in the singing of the National Anthem.  Recently a quarterback from the San Francisco 49ers NFL team refused to stand for the National Anthem because he feels the qualities the flag is supposed to represent have been absent in the recent shootings of black people by police around the country.  His refusal to stand has sparked debate around the country revolving around patriotism, liberty, free speech, and respect.  It has been interesting to read some comments by folks about this situation.  It got me thinking about our faith. 


What does the love of Christ impel us to do?  If you read the bible, study the stories and pray on them, I think one gets the message that Christ invites and challenges us to make a stand with him.  Stand with Christ for the poor, the vulnerable, the disenfranchised, the forgotten, the sick, the imprisoned, the lonely, the outcast, the sinner.  We are challenged to stand together so that each individual regardless of race, skin color, sexual orientation, creed, or religion is recognized and valued. But here’s the question: what does making a stand look like?  For the quarterback in question, taking a stand literally means taking a seat.  Whether you agree or disagree with the stance, he is making a stand for something he believes in.  I have thought where would Christ stand on this issue?  I suppose He would be present with the grieving families of those killed as well as with the families of the police officers involved.  This story goes beyond the flag of the United States.  It goes to the heart of the matter…that still after 2,000 years Jesus walked this planet we still struggle to see the dignity of every human being. 


My little girl Anna inspires me to see with the eyes of Christ…at the ripe age of 2, she is full of wonder, innocence, naivety and awe.  When do we lose that vision?  Sociologists suggest that when we enter 2nd or 3rd grade we begin to see the differences among us and make conclusions about it…a boy who has played with a girl since pre-school senses she is “different” and stops playing with her.  Two boys inseparable notice the different skin color and begin to separate from each other.  How do we hold onto that vision of seeing with the eyes of love rather than with eyes of color?  Christ reminds us of something very important: there is far more than unites us than separates us.  The color of our skin makes up a very small percent of our overall person.  Why not focus on the beating heart, the mind, the spirit and soul of one another? 


To stand or not to stand.  That’s really not the point.  The important thing as Mr. Fred Rodgers was so fond of reminding us is to be neighbor to each other wherever we are.  It’s such a good feeling to know you’re alive…it’s such a happy feeling to show it inside…go be the best neighbor today and everyday to those around you.  And by being neighbor, we walk side by side and arm in arm with everyone in Christ. 

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