The hardest part of preaching is having to leave out things that are good, but not necessarily what is needed that Sunday. I had to cut the following quote from Archibald MacLeish; “Religion is at its best when it makes us ask hard questions of ourselves. It is at its worst when it deludes us into thinking we have all the answers for everybody else.”
We talked about Mr. Rogers and kindness this week. At its heart, kindness is treating each other with gentleness and extending grace to one another. We looked at the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well and how that whole interaction demonstrates the impact of kindness. Jesus treated her with dignity and kindness and it resulted in several people finding their place in the story of God. But Jesus didn’t always speak with extraordinary kindness.
Jesus had harsh words for the Pharisees and other religious leaders. Why? Weren’t they on the same side? Technically yes, but they went about it in completely different ways. The Pharisees and religious leaders that Jesus butted heads with were convinced they had all the answers and that gave them permission to tell others how to live. And they often lacked kindness.
Jesus had hard words for them and extended radical grace and kindness to those who most needed it. For us, I think our task is to extend grace and kindness to whoever we meet. We should always examine ourselves for how we might be more Christlike. But I never want my words or actions to present a barrier between God and others. I never want to stand in between people and God. I believe we are called to extend to each other the same incredible grace that God has shown us.
This week, as we walk toward Sunday morning worship, remember to be kind. Mr. Rogers demonstrated incredible kindness in everything he did. Let us try to do the same.
See you Sunday!