Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care Reform and Mother Theresa

Everyone has a strong reaction to Health Care Reform. Those opposed have let it be known quite certainly that they are opposed. Those in favor have trumpeted loudly their opinion on the matter. And even those in the middle and those who enjoy a certain level of political autonomy have joined the chorus just as strongly, except their line is “quit the bickering!” All sides have weighed in.

I am not concerned here with whether or not Health Care Reform (henceforth HCR) is in and of itself right or wrong for the United States. I am more concerned with how we move forward. How we, more specifically as Christians, move forward. So how do we respond Christianly in such a raucous environment?

“Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness”
Disoriented. That is how I would describe most of our responses to the political moves in Washington over the past few decades. We have either thrust Jesus into the role of glitzy politician or divorced him from real life by relegating him to a distant “spiritual” realm. Both sides have been a part of both moves. People on both sides of the isle would like to champion Jesus as the raison d’etre for their cause. Just as equally, both sides have wanted to dismiss Jesus altogether and simply focus on the “reality” of the world situation.

After so many years of this, we have wedded ourselves to Washington. Instead of centering everything in our lives around the Kingdom of God and the hope therein for both present and future realities, we have settled for a kind of psychotic fixation on Washington. This means that we are either incredibly elated or utterly crushed by the decisions of politicians. Our responses are evidence of this. What does it mean, though, to seek first and foremost the Kingdom of God? Would it really change the way we respond to Washington?

“Fixing our eyes on Jesus”
We must strip away all the incorrigible layers in our hearts. We must do business with God, asking him to forgive us and cleanse us. In Christ’s life we find the way to move forward. Jesus lived a life fixed upon the will of his Father (read John for particular emphasis on this theme). This did not mean that he removed himself from daily interaction, though, as if he were somehow detached from the world. Instead, his close communion with his Father invigorated and established his activity and pursuits on earth.

What is establishing our actions and pursuits? Are we trying so desperately to create God’s Kingdom on earth that we are forgetting that He himself does this? Is our conception of Heaven so small that we think it must be some far-off ultra-spiritual realm completely different than this green earth that we live in now? We all tend to both directions throughout the courses of our lives, and I think the great difficulty right nows lies in cultivating the garden of our Hope in Jesus Christ.

In Him all things hold together”
Our very imaginations need a transformation, a radical centering around the hope of new life in Jesus Christ. His death and resurrection form the entire reason for our existence. In Him we find our orientation to the world and to the HCR situation specifically. We live in the hope of promise, the belief that God will continue His saving work on earth. This hope in Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our activity in the world. Therefore we are not hopeless when things seem difficult and neither have we arrived when all seems good.

Our task as Christians remains the same as it always has. We are to love God with our entire lives and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We are to embrace the broken, the despised and rejected of the world. We are to care for the spiritual and physical needs of all people. Simply put, we would do well to study the habits of saints like Mother Theresa, who have given their whole lives in humble service to others. Washington does not dictate the Christian’s response to the world. Our eyes are fixed on Jesus. He has told us what to do. But the hard task of doing it remains up to us. May we all humble ourselves before our Lord and Maker and ask Him to make us people who “live by the Spirit”.

1 comment:

Britt Hester said...

Mark, these are some great thoughts. I have had similar convictions in response to both sides. You're absolutely right, we need to allow God to "cleanse our imaginations" as well as our hearts. I loved that line because I often rely to heavily on politicians, spotlight preachers and radical activists to do my imagining for me. It's rather important that we all heed the call of discipleship in a world void of such, and live out this calling by doing small things with great love. Thanks for this reminder.