They believed in him, but they loved human praise more than praise from God. Jesus shouted, “Whoever believes in me doesn’t believe in me but in the one who sent me. Whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.” – John 12:43-45 (NIV)
It has become something of a hallmark of progressive Christianity to waffle on what we think and believe about Jesus. Social justice? Absolutely! Black Lives Matter? Take me to the next protest. Charity? I’ll see your soup kitchen and raise you a shelter.
But Jesus? Um, well, you know, we don’t want to offend anyone. We don’t want people to think we’re unsophisticated or, God forbid, orthodox in our faith. We don’t want the popular kids to ghost us or the powerful people to knock us off the ladder to self-realization and success.
It’s enough to make an exasperated Jesus shout. Not because he doesn’t understand our fears. Not because he doesn’t appreciate the real cost of discipleship. But because he knows the glorious freedom and new life that speaking our faith can bring. Because he knows that faith in him boils down to trust in a Love that holds no good thing back from us. Because he wants us to know the fullness of life in God.
Many of us have made courageous and risky decisions to speak our truth—about our sexuality or gender identity, our struggles, our disagreements, our need for space or respect. And in doing so, we have discovered empowerment, healing, and happiness.
What amazing things might happen if we speak our faith?
Give us, O God, the courage to come out as Christian. And when we do, may we shout for joy.
Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.