Waiting for a left turn the other morning, I looked up and say a banner hanging from a utility pole next to the churcn where I park. It read, "Celebrating 70 years of Practical Christianity!" Until I ran into a lot of traffic, I'd never read the sign before, but when I did notice it, I had to stop and think if that was a message I would want to send.
What's "practical" about following Jesus?
- Jesus warned his followers in Scripture that they would be hated, jailed, and even killed if they preached his words.
- In the early church, one thing Christians were known for providing hospitality and basic medical care to people with horrible contagious diseases.
- Jesus' advice for making a living in his service was "just walk into town and trust that someone will welcome you and provide for you."
- Many Christian martyrs in all centuries have left grieving, helpless families behind with no definite arrangements for their care.
- Often, the practices of Christians can be done by any competent civic group, without all the sacrifice called for in doing those things (hospitality, care for the poor, clean living) in Christ's name
This year, I resolve not to use the word "practical" with my students. Instead, I will remind them of how difficult, how all-consuming, how crazy and impractical this discipleship is, and dare them to take it up anyway.