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New Year, Same Promise: A Place at Jesus’ Side

Where Do You Stand?

Typically we ask this question as a way of mapping our relationships and community. It is a straightforward way to discover what other people in your life think about the issues of the day. It is simple. It is direct. Where do you stand on climate change? Where do you stand on income inequality? Where do you stand on…? Under the best circumstances, asking this question can open a door to meaningful human interaction. When asked in a way that is open and invitational it can be the beginning of a wonderful conversation with a new friend. What happens though, when someone asks the question with an edge? How often have you heard this question asked in such a way as to back you into a corner? Instead of opening a door for meaningful interaction, the person asking the question is interrogating you as a way of mapping a conflict.

With Whom Do You Stand?

While the question ‘where do you stand?’ speaks to our personal geography, the question ‘with whom do you stand?’ is a question about our relationships. The former question does reveal what we think about the issues of the day. However, the latter question might actually reveal more about our heart, our view of the world and what motivates us. As disciples of the risen Christ, the answer to this question should always be Jesus. We stand with Jesus. This is an idea that we don’t often explore at great depth. It is true we talk with frequency about the faith that Jesus stands with us. Jesus stands with us to lead, walk, heal, restore and redeem. These things we receive as a consequence of Jesus’ standing with us are vital to our faith and theology. To fulfill our vocation as disciples, though, we must also take the concrete step to stand with Jesus. We stand with Jesus where he is to be found in the world today. This may be an intimidating thought; after all, the places where Jesus stands can often challenge our perceptions of self and others. Yet, to stand with Jesus is to stand in resurrection and new life. Standing with Jesus means we stand with justice and new life. Standing with Jesus means that we stand at the foot of the cross.

Standing With Our Neighbor

When we stand with Jesus we stand with our neighbor. We stand with those who are in need, those who are marginalized and those who are forgotten. After Jesus instructed his followers to love neighbors as we love our self and was then asked ‘who is my neighbor?’, his response served to break down the barriers we construct between each other in the human community. We have this place at Jesus’ side as a gift. Part of the promise we’ve been celebrating these last weeks is realized in the invitation and empowerment to be where Jesus is, even today. In this invitation we will know life, in all its beauty, as we learn to love our neighbor. Join us for Sunday worship as we celebrate this hope and this promise.