“Actions speak louder than words”, my third-grade teacher would tell us. She wanted us to understand that we did or didn’t do, mattered more than what we did or didn’t say. We can’t say we love God and not care for one another. We can’t say we are the church of Jesus Christ, and not live like he taught us to live.
In these anxious and troubling times, we hear people claiming compassion, but building walls. We hear religious leaders shaming the LGBTQ community, but not addressing sexual abuse in the church. We hear churches saying that all are welcome, but not standing with the immigrant. We hear some Christians claiming Jesus, but not living like Jesus.
On this first Sunday of Lent, we remember the wisdom of the Sermon on the Mount, the way Jesus provided guidelines for the Kingdom of God. His edict to us all was to love, to care for, to protect, to stand up for, to be present with. Lent invites us to examine our actions and our words and challenges us to be reconciled to God, after first being reconciled to one another.
Holy One, may our words and our deeds be reconciled with you and with one another. In the coming weeks, grant us the courage to examine our own lives, so that we may live and be like Jesus. Amen.
Rev. Tara Wilkins is the pastor at Bridgeport United Church of Christ in northeast Portland, Oregon.
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