Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
August 24, 2014
“Jesus and the Church: Inseparable” (Matthew 16:13-20)
“I love your Christ, but I dislike your Christianity.” That is a quote that has been attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, the leading figure from India of the 20th century. Sometimes it’s quoted as “I like your Jesus. I don’t like your Christians.” Or something like that. Whether Gandhi actually said this or not, the point is the same: Some people want to have Jesus–or at least the Jesus of their imagination–they want to have Jesus, but without the church. They try to pit the two against each other, Jesus and the church.
Now Gandhi himself was not a Christian. But there are even people who consider themselves Christians who would say pretty much the same thing. They claim they can be Christians without any association with the church. They like to call themselves “spiritual but not religious.” “Oh, I believe in God,” they say, “but I don’t believe in organized religion.” Or, “You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.” Again, they’re trying to pit Jesus against the church.
Well, I wonder what Jesus would think of statements like that. No, on second thought, I don’t wonder. I know what Jesus thinks of statements like that. I know, because Jesus himself has told us. And he’ll tell us now, under the theme, “Jesus and the Church: Inseparable.”