Saturday, September 16, 2006

In the Wee Small Hours (6)

A reflection on one verse from today's lectionary.

Mark 8:38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

This week, a US Navy chaplain was court-martialed for being in uniform when he attended a protest meeting outside of the Whitehouse. The protest was being made against an order from the Secretary of the Navy, Donald Winter, commanding all chaplains to use politically-correct, non-sectarian prayers in services. According to some reports, the Navy Chaplain in question, Lt. Gordon Klingenshcmitt, also received a written reprimand for preaching a message that was distinctly New Testament. (The Biblical verse in question was John 3:36)

It seems to be that the Name of Jesus offends some folk and that we, as Christians, are being told by society not to call upon the Lord when we make prayers or lead services in mixed faith company (or of no faith at all). In order to appease the feelings of others, we are failing our faith. People are trying to take Christ out of the word ‘Christian,’ making us become deists who serve an unnamed, unidentified, and unknown deity.

It’s time to stop this nonsense. When Peter preached on Pentecost, he talked about Christ being crucified and raised again. When he and John healed the man at the gate in Jerusalem, it was done in the Name of Jesus of Nazareth. On both occasions, the religious authorities tried to get them to stop talking about Jesus. Because they wouldn’t do this, they were flogged, imprisoned and persecuted. And when most of the apostles died, they were martyred not for an unknown, non-sectarian, politically correct deity; they were killed for being Christians – followers of Christ, who were not ashamed to speak His Name or invoke Him in their prayers.

In today’s lectionary passage, we are given fair warning of Christ shunning us at the end of time, if we choose to be ashamed of Him. As ministers and members of the church, we should not be pandering to wishes of those who would politically and culturally hijack Jesus in order to diminish the radical ministry and challenges that Christ confronts them with. As Christian pastors and Christian people, we should know better, especially those of us who have read about Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Finally, I find it more than ironic that our troops, who are fighting to free the Iraqi people, are having their chaplains spiritually neutered and unable to pray in Christ’s Name. Has the Secretary of our Navy also informed his counterpart amongst the native security forces and police in Iraq that their Islamic imam and mullah chaplains cannot pray in the name of Allah? I think not.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, if we ever forget You, we have failed You. When we remember and worship You, we honor You. In Your Holy Name, Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, we humbly pray. Amen.

Stushie is the blogger of Heaven's Highway and also the writer of Sky Pilots-resources for Busy Pastors

1 comment:

John said...

A chaplain in the armed services is called to minister to those of all faiths. They are specifically called to minister, not to evangelize. If one's job description conflicts with one's personal beliefs, then to be faithful, one must leave that job. The problem is not with the strictures of the Armed Services, it is with Christians who do not understand that they cannot agree to receive money for a job for which evangelization is not appropriate and then complain when they are told their evangelization is not permitted. Yes, evangelize if you are called to evangelize, but if your job prohibits evangelization, you are in the wrong job.