The greatest commandment is to love God and one’s neighbor as oneself, and is expounded on by, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” If that is true, would it be fair to say the opposite would be the greatest sin? I know we don’t like to talk about degrees of sin, (there is) but if one commandment is greater than the others, it seems to me that should also be true when it comes to sin.
One of two good things about growing old (I can’t remember the other) is that you have a history, that is if you don’t suffer from amnesia. Perhaps the wisdom of the aged comes from what they have seen, heard, read, still remember and learned from. That’s the way it is with me, if I can dare claim anything close to wisdom.
First let me talk about the history I’ve read. Being a Christian it seems logical to start in scripture, the New Testament. The story of the Good Samaritan sheds light on the lack of love between them and the Jews. Samaritans were lumped in with the “Gentile dogs” from a Jewish perspective. In other words, there would be a discrimination of worth and value. By the time we reach Paul’s letter to the Romans, the problem is still there. The Jewish Christians were not about to see the Gentile Christians as equals in the gospel, and maybe a little bit vise versa. The disenfranchisement of slaves is also a problem that had to be addressed, as did that of women. It is sad that these discriminatory practices lasted for centuries among Christians. That Great Commandment thing had a hard time getting in the picture. And when it did, somebody’s head was likely to roll.
We know that the “All men are created equal” line was penned with completely Anglo-Saxon European ink. African slaves and Native Americans need not apply. The majority of Christian congregations accepted that separation as God’s word.
By the grace of God, slavery was abolished. But the discrimination still continued, as it does today. It would be about a hundred years before any action was taken to change the Jim Crow laws of the South, and bring the North as well to face the issue of discrimination. Sadly, Christian churches often led the battle. This is where my history comes in. I can remember the preachers with their pamphlets with an ape superimposed over the face of a black man on the cover, and inside were the claims that integration would destroy our society, bring about a plague of venereal disease, and destroy the white race by inner marriage. That “Loving one’s neighbor” thing had its limits.
I don’t need to mention (but I will) the fight just to let women vote. As much of that resistance came from Christians as from others. Color was, and is, not the only form of discrimination I can remember when (as late as the 1980s) that women entering the work place was condemned by preachers as the end of God’s plan for the family, and therefore, the nation. I don’t know how many Christians approved of the Japanese/American internments camps of WWII, but I’m sure there were too many.
Does anyone remember when a Jew couldn’t get a job because they were Jewish? How many Christian employers were part of that discrimination? Too many. How about the signs in New York that read, “Italians need not apply”? What about the view many Christians had, and have, about mixed marriages? Remember the sermons that said a marriage between a member of one Christian group to a member of another, was not a marriage sanctioned by God? Or that a marriage between a Christian and a non-Christian was not a “scriptural” marriage? The list could go on, Catholic and Protestant, Jew and Gentile, etc.
There is a common denominator that runs all through the history of such events. Inequality. One person or group diminishes the worth and value of another. The way it is fed is by fear; fear that if the others are seen as equals, we will become less. To not love is to discriminate against the neighbor who is different than we are.
As Christians, we don’t “go” to church. We “are” the church, the body of Christ in the world
CONCERNS: Richard Crite’s brother-in-law is not expected to live but a few more weeks. The Crites may stay there until the end comes. Jim Hunter is continuing with cancer treatment. Sheila Robertson had cataract surgery on Friday. Keith Wagner will have the same this Wednesday. Steve Mullins, a friend of Del Bolin, has serious cancer, as does another friend, Sharon. Also, one of Del’s student’s brother-in-law has aggressive thyroid cancer. His name is Billy. Nick Nicklas, Leena Bolin’s brother is preparing for cancer surgery. Tony Smallwood, the truck driver-friend of Garrett Williams has shown slow, but continuing improvement. Jen McCready (eye issues), Ken Teatino (cancer), and Randy Conner. Helen Nicklas, Jenni Cullum, Alma Martin, Joni Beach’s mother, and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: JUNE 4-9
Monday: I Samuel 16:1-13
Tuesday: Mark 15:1-20
Wednesday: Luke 12:1-12
Thursday: I John 2: 11-24
Friday I Peter 4:1-19
Saturday: Psalm 11:1-7
OUR DAILY BREAD: JUNE 11-16
Monday: Genesis 12:1-20
Tuesday: I Samuel 3:1-18
Wednesday: Philippians 4:8-23
Thursday: I John 4:7-21
Friday: Romans 7:13-8:11
Saturday: Ephesians 3:7-21
A SUMMER WARNING
As it gets hotter the dead limbs on the old tress along the highway dry out and fall. If you look you will see some are big enough to do serious damage. These trees are on city property but hang over our parking lot. There is plenty of room, and while it’s tempting to park in the shade, be careful which tree you pick. We hope in time the city will cut and replace these trees as they have at other places in the neighborhood.
A THANK YOU CARD
A Thank You card was sent to us from John, Lisa, Jacob and Kayla Hawks for including Jacob and Kayla in the recognition dinner for graduating high school seniors. It is on the downstairs bulletin board.
Remember, a group of students from the Virginia Tech School of Medicine and the Jefferson College of Health Sciences are asking for gently used clothing. There is an extra need for plus-sized clothing. These items will be picked up at the church and delivered to the Rescue Mission. A box is in the room to the left at the foot of the stairs.
KEEP IN MIND
We are considering a weekend VBS program for the fall. It will be called “Rocky Point Lighthouse”. It will take helpers, so be prepared to be asked if you can help.
A friend of AC Branch is collecting aluminum cans to help a friend get a start when he gets out of jail. The friend has a goal, and AC says with our help he has almost reached it. However, he would like as many cans as possible.
When you save the cans, remove the pull tabs and place them in a container in the same room as the collected clothing. These benefit the Ronald McDonald House.
THE NEW SOUND SYSTEM
We have been unable to make the connection with the source in NC for the sound system. We will now begin to look at local options and hope to see this moving forward soon.