As I drove past a church, two handwritten banners hung in their front windows. The first read: ‘God Loves You’ and in the next window, ‘No Exceptions.’
My mind was absorbed for the rest of the drive home. This is exactly what the Kingdom of God should look like here on earth. No exceptions.
As we journey from the cross to the Resurrection this weekend, those two words take on more significance. No exceptions.
God’s son did not die on the cross for some of the people. He didn’t die just for the Jews or for Christians; for people who go to church on Sunday mornings or those who seem to live perfectly holy lives. He didn’t just die for Americans or Catholics or Protestants, or for those whose belief systems – political, religious, or philosophical – line up with ours. He didn’t just die for white folk or rich people, those who can afford health care or who have a good work ethic. He didn’t just die on that cross for those who have their lives all together and whose children are brought up the way we believe they should behave. He didn’t just die for those with no mental health issues, or the families who can afford homes.
Jesus Christ’s life on earth, his death, resurrection and his living presence are for everyone – no exceptions.
My heart aches at the ugly behavior and talk coming from those who proclaim their Christianity louder than they live it out. Mom always told me that actions speak louder than words. But we scream and yell our hatred and bigotry in the name of Jesus so that the words will seem louder than actions, and those who are as angry and hateful can hear the nasty words and support those ugly beliefs.
When Jesus was asked which commandment was the most important, he gave a simple response. Summed up, he said: Love God. Love Others. He didn’t place any exceptions on that. He didn’t tell people to love God and then love only some of the others. Jesus stated that we are to Love God and Love Others. No exceptions.
We’ll move past Holy Week and Easter Sunday and return to life as it always has been, giving little regard to the incredible passion that changed the world. The passion that came about because of exceptional love for all of humanity.
We are called to perfection as Jesus is perfect. That perfection comes from love. God’s love. When we live out that love, we find that we no longer need to scream and shout; our actions will be louder than our words and no one can drown them out.
Let this be the moment you decide to love, knowing how much God loved you.