Periodically, over my career, students would ask why I was a Christian. I must admit that early on the question surprised me and my answer was trite.  But over time, as I guess happens with most people as they mature, my answer acquired more depth, at least in my eyes.

LentFirst, Christianity asks me to be humble–not only to my Creator, but also to those around me. I am to recognize that on my own I am small and weak and in need of help.  I should see myself as in the most need of help. Perhaps paradoxically, in some ways, despite this need, I am accepted.  I do not need to make myself better to receive the help that is offered.  I am enough.  It is in this weakness that I am accepted.  But finally, Christianity asks that I not stay there once I see these things in myself.  I am to move forward, as much as I’m able, with God’s help to loving others with the acceptance He has shown me.  Christianity asks me to get outside of myself, to lay down my selfishness, to believe that He can help me do that. These are reasons why I choose to believe that Jesus died on the cross for me and is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

In the past week I have spent time reflecting on Christianity and my walk with Christ. I’m troubled by the state of the nation. I’m troubled by my own contributions to the current atmosphere.  While I may have never meant to place myself above others, it is without a doubt that I have.  I have not had to worry about walking down the street, or driving a nice car, or browsing in a store simply because of the color of my skin.  When the mask recommendation came from the CDC in response to the pandemic, I didn’t have to worry what people would think I was up to if I wore one.

How many times have I laughed at someone’s racist joke? How many times have I sat silently while someone spouted their own racist ideas? How many opportunities have I had to show love and failed?

I feel inadequate. I feel lost. I feel unprepared. I feel angry!

I feel angry that so often I hear people say things such as “well, we can’t help how we were raised.” I feel angry that they seem unconcerned about evaluating themselves and their own contributions to the current state of affairs. I feel angry that often I have jumped to conclusions and have pre-judged a person’s situation based on color.

I feel terrified that I will fail Grasshopper. I will fail to show Grasshopper that I was weak and wrong on many occasions, and that he/she can do better. I will fail to show Grasshopper that God’s call to humble ourselves and love one another is a call to do that in response to ALL people.

And so, I come back to why I’m a Christian.  Because God calls me to be outside of myself.  He accepts me where I am, but He urges me to be better, to move from where I am to somewhere that loves one another. God, help me.