Comments Like Stones
Jesus responded, “I have shown you many good works from the [Divine Parent]. For which of those works do you stone me?” The [religious] opposition answered, “We don’t stone you for a good work but for insulting God. You are human, yet you make yourself out to be God.” – John 10:32-33 (CEB)
We may disagree on the pros and cons of live-streamed worship and the costs and benefits of the so-called hybrid format. But there’s no denying that having our worship services live forever online has attracted both new people and more vitriol.
Among my favorite YouTube comments, which referred to a passing sermon mention of anti-trans legislation: “Trading the truth of God for a lie. Good work degenerates.”
And this one just confused me: “I am so sorry to hear that your church holds up vaccines as some sort of ‘idol’ that replaces God.”
It can be a dangerous business, this seeking to understand something of the heart of God and then live it out.
Jesus’s alleged blasphemy was in saying that he and God were one. Our great heresies, according to some, are teaching that God delights in every kind of person and cares deeply about racial and climate justice.
And yet we, like the religious leaders of Jesus’s day, might also feel threatened by a word that is new and different. We might resent those who push us to disavow our privilege, empower the outliers, think beyond our settled theologies, and live outside our comfort zones.
May we who are without attachment to our own ways of thinking cast the first harsh comment.
Forgive my ungodly attachment to my own ways of thinking, O God, and open my heart and mind to a new and liberating word from you.
Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.