At church this morning, the Prayer of Confession contained the following lines:
“Forgive us, God of light and author of love…if we have denied in word or deed the Christ who died for us…if we have been different people on Monday than we are on Sunday…”
For me, this means that my public face and my private face should be similar. On the ABC program The Middle, a theme of one of the episodes this season was that we often give our best behavior to strangers, but not to our families. Granted, it’s good to be able to be ourselves around our loved ones, within our comfort zones. Home may be a place for more honesty about our struggles and our feelings than we express in the outside world. But home should not be a place for rudeness.
As far as denying Christ in word or deed goes, I wonder what this means. If it means denying Christ by being complete jerks, then I can see the point of the prayer. I think that a significant element of worship is to be a good person, and to do what the pastor exhorted in this morning’s service: to see the world and the people in it through Jesus’ eyes of compassion. If the prayer means that I have to make a bold stance for evangelical Christianity before others, however, then I have a problem with that, since I have issues with evangelical Christianity. I don’t think that I should get to the point where I bash evangelical Christianity to gain approval by other people—-whether they be atheists, or cynical Christians, or ex-Christians, or people adhering to non-Christian religions who have beefs with evangelical Christianity. But I do believe that I should be honest about what my problems are with certain belief systems—-perhaps for me to find answers or some way to move on. Unfortunately, there are times when the line between the two is pretty thin! Moreover, it would be nice if I could sincerely fall in love with Jesus. Then, if I do proclaim him, it isn’t out of some religious obligation that I feel, but is out of love and appreciation for Jesus and his qualities.