Only Acceptable to GodBy BY ALAN SMITH,
Islam and Christianity have been at war for over a millennium now.
That war has been, at times, invasive to the other. The Moors moved into Europe and conquered territories it still has. The Christians invaded the Levant (Crusades) to capture, or recapture, the Holy Land.
Muslims are required to go to war with non-Muslims to conquer them and add their territory to the "House of Islam". Christianity is supposed to "turn the other cheek" and "forgive our enemies". The western nations drew boundaries after WWI that established countries in ways that guaranteed turmoil. The creation of a Jewish state, the Islamic awakening, oil, 9/11, acerbated long-standing Muslim-Christian tensions. How do we view all this?
We all know the story of the Ant and the Grasshopper. The ant works hard, stores up food all year long, When winter comes, the ant has enough to survive. The grasshopper spends all year playing and eating, never storing up anything. When winter comes and things are tough, it barely survives death. Though Greek in tradition, it has a distinctly American flavor through our work hard/get rewarded brand of capitalism. It's the American way, right? I worked hard to get mine, they can get their own. Why should I care?
Sitting through Communion this past week brought to the forefront this thought that's been working it’s way around inside the old drum.
I have experienced churches that spoke forcefully about Communion only being for believers and the rest just need to sit out. I have also experienced those that taught everyone come. The one today struck me when I had been trying to reconcile "only believers" with the fact that Jesus served Judas communion also. An enemy. One who actively plotted His downfall. Jesus knew this and served him anyway. A form of reconciliation that forecast what happened next with the crucifixion.
A story was told of a young school child who was told the first part of The Ant and the Grasshopper, and then was told to finish it their way. This young lad finished the story with the Ant giving everything he had to the Grasshopper, and dying while the Grasshopper lived. It was a wow moment. What part of this endless war, pointing out Islam as the enemy, spending untold billions on the "war on terror" is pleasing to God.
In our call to be salty and light are we forgiving enough of those who hate us? Do we worship America more than God? Should we strike fear into our enemies hearts or have them want the peace that only Christ can bring? I've been guilty, but no more. Our acts of worship should be loving God and everybody else.
Until another week.