This Sunday I begin a four part sermon series titled, “Imitatio Dei: Imitating the Compassion of God.” Robin Myers, in his book, Saving Jesus From The Church, negatively critiques the church saying that “we have lost the essential quality of Christianity as a way of life.” I agree. The church, especially in the United States, has reduced the gospel of Jesus down to statements of belief and matters of dogma. By doing this we have missed out on the eternal nature of Jesus’ teaching to love one another, to do to others as we would have them do to us and to care for the least of these.
When we see and experience Christianity as a way of life we are able to discover that compassion is a central aspect of our faith. Being compassionate means we learn to empathize with others. To do that means that we learn to be on the same wavelength as another person and consider her or his life as though it were our own.
Myers concludes, “the question for the church of the future is not, ‘Have I provided dogmatic information sufficient for salvation?’ but rather, ‘Have I shown compassion to those who need it and the love of God to those denied it?'”
That question is the guiding one behind the sermon series. It is one that is not easy to answer but it is crucial for the Church Universal to answer as we seek to follow Jesus.