Yesterday I heard our bishop tell us not to be ashamed of the Gospel, not to fail to proclaim Jesus anywhere. I’m not sure what she said. That’s just what I heard. It’s like Bishop Grove’s sermon last year about being “Agents of Interruption”. Bishop Grove said when you interrupt people, it’s because you think what you have to say is more important than what they’re saying. According to Bishop Grove, “The house is on fire” would qualify as something important. I agree.
If we believe that Jesus came to die for our sin and is the only way to God the Father, that also would qualify as something of utmost importance. I was happy to hear our new Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball say not to fail to proclaim Jesus anywhere. The problem is when we have to decide between political correctness and proclaiming Jesus. I asked a friend last night about proclaiming Jesus at an inter-religious gathering (with followers of Islam, Buddhism, etc.) and he said you can proclaim Jesus by showing love without words. I looked up the definition for the word ‘proclaim’. It’s “To announce officially and publicly; declare.” Yet, I understand what he’s saying. If our intention is to form a relationship in which we can eventually proclaim to them the fact that Jesus is the Savior of the world, then I agree we can show them Jesus without speaking His name. But if not proclaiming the Name is a way to keep peace and be politically correct, then I think I disagree. That sounds too much like like being ashamed.
Yet most of us don’t find ourselves in mixed religion places too often. Most of us act as if we’re ashamed of proclaiming the Gospel at places like Wal Mart and we do so under the banner of “I don’t want to be one of those religious Bible thumpers that irritate people by always talking about Jesus.” I hope we can agree that most of us appear ashamed or at least afraid, when we do have opportunities to proclaim the Gospel. Bishop Steiner Ball reminded me yesterday to remind you that we must not be ashamed, embarrassed, or afraid to share our faith and in doing so, proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
(As a PS to today’s blog, I just read about Roy Costner IV who tore up his speech at graduation and proclaimed Jesus – read about it here -)