At the very outset, let us face the Court Marshall: Considering the time withered fact that the “Lord’s Prayer” is pronounced at least a million times or more at any particular given time on any day, did we realize if we truly mean in reality what we pray when we say “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)…. Is our Earth ready to become like the Heavenly Kingdom? Are you my beloved reader or me prepared to Love our Neighbors just as Jesus loves you and me??!!
Just for a sanctified moment presume that you and me are in the ‘Kingdom of God’, Would not the, “Love thy neighbor” be a mandatory and a statutory under the ‘Law of Christ’ prevailing there? Therefore, every time we plead “Thy kingdom come” we must realize that practicing “Love thy neighbor” is a compulsory clause for us to make the conditions on earth “as it is in heaven” in order for God and His divine son to come down to install their kingdom here!
These are not just ‘Blind Visions’ but minutely observed true visions by my ‘Impartial’ spiritual eyes that have pained my soul and spirits. And I am quite sure that Jesus is pained too as He watches over all of us Christians amidst the insensitive & turbulent lifestyle the majority of the world has subjected itself into.
He defined and immortalized love. His love for us took him to His tortured death on the cross and took us on to our salvation and eternal life. As I was pondering over for a pragmatic title aptly appropriate for the prognosis of this week’s spiritual reflection, it was the “Lord’s Prayer” that came to my rescue. The love of Jesus preached and practiced by him all through His phenomenal life was so contagious that it spread at an alarming rate in the early centuries engulfing the predators, conquerors and captives cascading infectiously from Jesus down on to His Apostle from the savagely persecuting Saul to the compulsive conqueror Constantine, thus initiating a new dimension of love for the first time in history rendering the persecutor to be the persecuted and the conqueror inevitably conquered by the love of Jesus & His followers. Rows and rows of compassionate defenseless men, women, old, young and children even tiny Christian toddlers stood up offering themselves to the hungry Roman lions and gladiators in the Roman Colosseum but though the mortals perished, the “Christian Love” was immortalized.
Every single Christian during those early centuries wanted to follow and do exactly what Jesus did for them – yes, they wished to die in love for others. In fact, it is over the spill of their precious martyred Christian blood and Jesus’ matchless love that our Christian world of today was erected. But where is that love gone now? Jesus said in His command, “Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12) but today, most Christians have developed a misconceived notion that anyone advocating this compassionate commandment of Jesus is actually attempting to seek financial or materialistic assistance for either themselves or for some downtrodden/ underprivileged members of their church congregation or from their society. Worldwide Christian studies reveal that those few Christians who devoutly practice the “Love thy Neighbor” commandment in their daily lives or more often than not tend to find themselves in embarrassing and sometimes even insulting situations. Majority of today’s Christian world believes that Christ, His love and commandments live only inside the churches and bibles. Jonathan Edward firmly believes that “every Christian must be a compulsive minister of mercy” if he or she strives to qualify for the title ‘Christian’ and wishes to receive the benefits of the love of Christ.
“Loving thy neighbor” is in fact the fulfillment of a specific “law” of Jesus and it is to a religious ‘lawman’ that Jesus decreed the ‘Parable of the Good Samaritan’ exemplifying the virtues of “Love thy neighbor” (Luke 10:25-37). Sadly, some of our beliefs in Jesus Christ are based on our selfish motives that in the 21st millennium most Christians have created a ‘prototype’ Jesus to suit our own individual situations, one that we can edit, control, copy & paste wherever Jesus can be used to benefit us personally. Believing in JESUS allows many to promote a faith that promises prosperity to themselves, blessing, and holy interest rates far better than banks offer. Unfortunately, Jesus is more often used as a brand name to promote the interests of religious institutions, business houses, realty prospectors, marketing and sales promoters, etc.
A recent news flash from a United States’ church advises a startling phenomenon that has been developing in the US lately: “Some stores have told their employees to wish their customers “Happy Winter Holidays” instead of a Merry Christmas because they don’t want to offend anyone. Anyone other than Christians that is. Some schools have done away with Christmas break and now call it “Winter Break” or such. Others have done away with any music in their programs that refer to Christmas. Some have even gone so far as to begin calling Christmas Trees as “Holiday Trees” or “Magical Trees”. Most bewildering is the news that many have shun away from Good Friday as there is the aura or feel of ‘mourning’ in reminiscing the phenomenal story of the cross. And all these have been happening in the world’s largest Christian populated country with 78% out of its total populations being Christians!
It is time biblical scholars, Christian institutional & community leaders, pastors & clergy focus on the commandments which Jesus considered as “close to His heart” and which He proclaimed as His “New command” (John 13:34) and begin educating our fellow Christians in abstract seriousness since this was the only message and commands that Jesus decried “do as I have done”. Let us see for a moment what lack of ‘love for each other’ is doing to our world: we see people shattered on the rocks of delusion and despair. We see a skyrocketing divorce rate, abuse in the home, disease, crime, abortion, gangs, suicide, incest, child abuse, rape, drive-by shootings, drugs, and the inability of government to handle our problems because we are a people who seek man-made solutions and ignore the biblical mandates of Scripture. So, the list of problems grow.
Scriptures have firmly cautioned us explicitly in specific words to ensure that the ‘commands’ of God should not be taken lightly and must be strictly adhered to. “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this are the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Though with love He commanded us to “Love thy neighbor”, this important command must be practice without selfish compromises because remember, Jesus paid with his painful death to teach us this “Love” since His heavenly father and He loved us (John 3:16)?
This week’s Christological moral to ponder: “the Second Coming of Jesus is just around the corner and the ‘thy Kingdom Come as it is in Heaven’ with angels Saints, Apostles as well as those ‘loving’ ardent Christians would also be a realistic divine occurrence very soon but, the million dollar question is would we be part of Jesus’ compassionate kingdom?” – the choice is ours.
- Rev. Dr. Cruz Dev Prasad, PhD.