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What Would Jesus Say/Do?

On the night that we celebrate the birth of Jesus, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on some of the things he said/did during his life among us - especially as it relates to things that are topics of discussion today.

On the separation of church and state:
Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.

Mark 12:17
On prayer in public places:
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:5-6
On income inequality:
Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.

Matthew 19:24
On our obligation to the poor and oppressed:
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 24:34-40
Summing it all up:
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:12
But it wasn't just the words Jesus said. The life he lived demonstrated that he walked his talk. As I usually do at this time of year, I'd like to quote from something kid oakland wrote about that 10 years ago.
Let me tell you something about the Jesus that I know.

He was a real man. Born in a poor region to working poor parents. He loved learning, he loved his mother and his father.

But he left them and spent his life with the poor, the outcast, the rejected, the defiled, the sick, the sinners, the bedraggled, the bereft, the self-hating, the lonely, the banished, the foul, the miserable, the desperate and finally, those sick with their own power.

He did this, not because of his ideology or his creed. He did this not because of his doctrine. He did this, quite simply, because he loved them. He preferred them.

Their company, their stories, their lives, their environs, their plight and their faith.

And they loved him. Because he touched them. He looked them in the eye and believed in them. Because, at the end of the day, when they looked to him they saw that his commitment to them was a commitment unsullied by qualifier or clause. It was a commitment to love them, even upon pain of death. And they saw in him, a love that promised to love them as they were, who they were...fully, without judgement or flinching glance, or hypocritical accommodation.

This man, Jesus, was surrounded by friends and disciples whom he mentored....not by carping or enforcing rules...but by example and teaching. By the force of his actions. By his resolute commitment to the least, the smallest, the most in need.
The Christmas carol that represents this to me more than any other - and has always been my favorite - is Oh Holy Night, which was written by French composer Adolphe Adam in 1847. The second verse is especially relevant today. Take a listen. And no matter whether or not you celebrate the birth of Jesus, my wish is that your soul will feel its worth today...and always.

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