“Anti-gay church to picket funeral” – so proclaimed the front-page headline in today’s local newspaper. Bleary-eyed and still emotional from my youngest child’s high school graduation party last night, I was yet able to focus my attention enough to sense a blog post waiting somewhere within the anticipated dark text of the newspaper article. So, even though I have a strong desire to take a nap (perhaps the first of several today), I have a stronger urge to respond to the claims of the “anti-gay church.”
Brace yourself; here are some choice tidbits from the article:
“Westboro Baptist Church (Topeka, Kansas) members have gained national attention protesting at military funerals across the country, where they display signs reading ‘Thank God for Dead Soldiers,’ ‘Thank God for I.E.D’s,’ and ‘God Hates You.'”
“The group’s main concern seems to be with gays, who it blames for inflaming God’s rage and triggering divine retribution…”
And the quote that really sent me over the edge, from a daughter of the founder of the church: “You can sum up the Bible in three words: Obey, Obey, Obey.”
Now if these words enrage you, as they originally affected me, please don’t go there. Instead, please listen to and truly hear the words from the only expert on the topic. What would Jesus have to say?
For example, how might Jesus sum up the Bible? As it turns out, Jesus was once asked a similar question. One of the supposed experts of His day decided to test Jesus with the following question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:36). Since the Bible contains the law of God, summing up the Bible and stating the greatest commandment would likely give you the same result. Did Jesus proclaim the greatest commandment to be obedience to God? Hear His answer…
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-38)
How might Jesus sum up the Bible in three words? “Love, Love, Love”
Yet Jesus was concerned with obedience as well. It’s no surprise that He showed far more wisdom than the members of the Westboro Baptist Church. Jesus knows where obedience comes from. It does not come from protests. It does not come from anger or rage. It does not come from bigotry.
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15)
Obedience comes from Love. To all who hold to bigotry and yet call themselves Christian: please follow the One who you supposedly call your leader – let go of hate and take hold of Love.
That’s enough from me. It’s now nap time.