Where I live, McDonald's was the last fast-food restaurant to take credit/debit/cash cards. Then one day they begin accepting them and they put out these signs that make me laugh every time I see them: "Yeah, we take 'em," referring to the brands of cards they accept. It sounds as if they're saying, "We've been doing this all along." They talk as if they're relevant, and they're not.
And I think we look like McDonald's to our society because, so often, we are the last ones to help people in need. We look back, after we've gotten on the band-wagon, and say, "Yeah, we care about 'em." Shouldn't we be addressing the needs of people before those who don't know God? We're the body of Christ, created to be his compassionate hands to the "least of these." Are we still relevant?
What happened? Christians started out right. They addressed the needs of people. They met people's physical and spiritual needs, redeeming lives wherever they went. What happened?
We still struggle with racial prejudice in our churches -- still. "He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes." That seems pretty clear to me.
People are dying of AIDS and instead of helping we condemn them for their lifestyle. Do they need condemnation from us? Do they need to be told the truth or see it lived out before them? Help, for Christ's sake! People in need have no recourse but God. Should we leave it to others?
People are dying of poverty and instead of helping we consume more and more and do nothing to lift the burden from their shoulders. Do they need to hear the words, "The poor will always be with [us]"? Or do they need to be fed?
Let's resolve as a community of believers not to be the last to do God's work in our world. Let's resolve not to become an ironic footnote in the record of history. Let's resolve to love people. As you treat the minority, the diseased, and the poor, Christ said, so you treat me.
Christianity is relevant. The question is Are you? Am I?