With all the hoopla surrounding Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, I am struck by several conflicting thoughts:
1. It is refreshing to see so many people excited about their faith. Some 800,000 attended one of the events this past weekend.
2. It is refreshing to see the media provide positive coverage about Christianity.
3. It is disconcerting to see so much “worship” given to someone who is, after all, just a man.
4. I am reminded again of how fickle people are. In the past several days, many hours of TV coverage and inches of news print have been given to the Pope’s visit, yet every week we also hear criticism of another Christian who is criticized for openly proclaiming his or her faith.
I understand the significance of this trip and why it receives, and deserves, such coverage. But it shouldn’t take a visit from the Pope, who admittedly “comes in the name of the Lord,” to excite us about the One who came two thousand years ago.
One of the descriptions of Jesus in the New Testament is “He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord”: “And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ” Mark 11:9 ESV #NamesofGod
On the day Christians the world over now remember as Palm Sunday, the people in Jerusalem hailed Jesus as King and the One who would save them. Yet only five days later, they shouted, “Crucify him!”
What a fickle people they were. But aren’t we the same? On Sunday we celebrate Jesus and worship Him. And the next day, or even that afternoon, we do something that dishonors Him. Perhaps an unkind word to someone, a jealous thought, or failure to help someone in need.
Will you join me in seeking to honor Him in all we do, not only when a revered Catholic figurehead visits our country?
We will fail, of course. We cannot live this life in a way that honors Christ unless the Holy Spirit lives in us and guides us. And sometimes, we allow our flesh to rule over the Spirit.
But still He loves us! And He forgives us, if we ask.
How can we not be excited about that?