Good question. Tricky question too. This evening I’ve been reading again over Rowan Williams’ article from last Monday:
It may not be easy to answer this straight away, so don’t expect to become a hero of conscience overnight. And, just to rub it in, there are other places in the Bible where Jesus prods us to ask ourselves about our motives before we embark on grand gestures. Are we doing this for the sake of the real issue – or for an audience?
What matters about Jesus isn’t that he always tells us simply what to do. What matters is that he is there – claiming the right to probe our motives and stretch our minds. Faith isn’t about just his teaching or his good example but his whole life, his whole being. That whole life expresses a committed love that won’t go away whatever we do, and so has the right to ask the awkward questions: the questions posed to us by his birth in poverty and his childhood as a refugee – and the still bigger challenge of his apparent failure and his death.
I recently gained two WWJD wristbands, one black & white and one rainbow coloured. They’re beautiful reminders. Some situations are rather tricky though, and the answer really isn’t all that straight-forward. But, sometimes, the answer is blatantly obvious, and all we need is to have the courage to nudge ourselves towards that answer, to the truth, even if the alternative is “easier”.
My trip to Salisbury in the summer was wonderful, but the attitude of the Cathedral, with a paydesk and a hawkish security guard demanding payment upon entering, made me want to push him out of the way and turn the table over (couldn’t of done though because it was huge and bolted to the floor). Pay to Pray? (The services were open to all but one couldn’t get in for singular reflection without a bit of trouble.) Well What Would Jesus Do? In this case, I think he’d successfully turn the table over, and then tell us to stop being so stupid. I think he’d tell us to be more welcoming, and if it meant sacrificing the bricks and stained glass windows (although beautiful), a pray and a sharing of bread and fish in a field, in a desert, or a small gathering in a mucky stable, would be perfectly acceptable. Don’t you think?
WWJD? This is not a question which should make us jump to the Bible every time we ask it – although very important, the Bible doesn’t give us straight-forward answers to everything. We have to live, we have to understand parables, we have to think for ourselves as well. Things can get a bit confusing when this question is asked, and some of my friends wonder how we can ask WWJD when Christians (Liberal and Fundamental) have different ideas of who Jesus was. Is. Ok then, let’s change the question slightly, so that for me at least the question is still the same: What Would Love – rather than power – Do?…