Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name? Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same? Will you kiss the leper clean, and do such as this unseen, and admit to what I mean in you and you in me?
If we read these words closely, they suggest a radical upset to the way we do things in the world. Intended to be God speaking to us, this verse of “The Summons” asks us to do the unthinkable, without credit, and then to do the dangerous when people are watching.
Think about it this way: the first portion of the verse asks us to continue Christ’s mission of mercy to the world – serving the blind, the prisoners, the lepers – binding up all the brokenness in the world so that those “unwanteds” may find fullness of life. These are great things to do. However, the speaker goes on to say that we must do these things and not take credit for them. What?
We like taking credit. We love making ourselves look good. If we’re going to be engaging in such wonderful Christ-following, shouldn’t everyone know about it? Yet, if we live like this, showing off our great Christ skills, we are serving ourselves. Christ wants us to serve others, solely for the purpose that God wants them to have fullness of life. That part of Christ’s work is not about us.
On the flip side, there is a part of our ties to Christ that God does want us to share: our relationship. We can’t exactly update our “relationship status” on Facebook or Instagram for this one. Nor can we just simply follow Jesus on Twitter.
To share that we have a relationship with Christ means that we are willing to go against the world, the culture, even the church on occasion. Anytime that we see people being hurt, most especially in the name of Christ, that is when our relationship with God really matters.
When someone asks why are you welcoming the stranger – because that stranger is Christ. At times when radical hospitality springs from your lips to the ears of outcasts – we do so because the Christ alive within us acknowledges God’s wondrous creation in them. And when we do things that seem outlandish in the name of love and someone asks are we crazy? That is when we admit to what Christ really means to us.
We should visibly be Christ’s followers by displaying radical inclusion, abundant love, and overwhelming grace to a world wallowing in pain, hatred, and suffering. The best thing we can possibly do is to learn to live this way – as authentic, messy, sometimes goofy, and servant-minded humans. Even large portions of the church will not recognize the Christ-following in this. All the better.
It is not about promoting ourselves or how close we are to God. It is about empowering other people and drawing them to Christ’s embrace. That is how we admit to our relationship with Christ – what a radical upset and beautiful picture.