- Say to them, As I live, says the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel? – Ezekiel 33:11
- Turn away the disgrace that I dread, for your ordinances are good. – Psalm 119:39
- Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. – Romans 13:10
- “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” – Matthew 18:20
Gathered in My Name…
We just “gather”, that’s it?
The KKK “gathered” in the name of Jesus Christ. Was he there among them when they “gathered”?
Churches that spew hateful rhetoric “gather” in the name of Jesus Christ. Is he there among them?
During the Inquisition, innocent people were tortured and executed in the name of Jesus Christ. Was he there among the executioners?
… and no.
For you see, God is everywhere, in all things, and through all things, and all things find their source in God. So God is there among all of the unsavory examples above.
However, the spirit of Christ, the Christ consciousness was not. Perhaps a better phrase for this concept should be “Christ conscience”. For that is what Jesus essentially revealed to us: the will and conscience of God.
con·science [kon-shuhns] noun
1. the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action: to follow the dictates of conscience.
2. the complex of ethical and moral principles that controls or inhibits the actions or thoughts of an individual.
3. an inhibiting sense of what is prudent: I’d eat another piece of pie but my conscience would bother me.
5. Obsolete . consciousness; self-knowledge.
To Love is Christ
Paul understood it perfectly in our passage today from Romans:
8. Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
9. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
10. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
Christ taught us the conscience of God. If something does not express love, do not do it.
So while God may be in all things, not all things are beneficial or divine by association. They must be made so, through the act of restorative love.
1 Corinthians 10
23. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive.
And yet, Love saves everything
Love restores everything.
So, how should we gather?
In the name of love.
Then Christ is present in our collective conscience.
And through our conscience, Christ is present in our lives, and through our lives, Christ is present in the world.