2 Samuel 14:14
God will not take away a life; he will devise plans so as not to keep an outcast banished forever from his presence.
The scribes said to Jesus’ disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.”
A friend of mine in ministry did not grow up as a Christian or in the church. When he was converted, he became an Episcopal priest. Not long afterward another friend remarked to him, “I might have known that were you to catch religion, you would catch it in its least virulent form!” That may not be a fair commentary on any particular expression of the Christian faith, but it certainly goes to the core of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
The expression of true faith in the context of today’s denominational smorgasbord of options seems less to be about a denominational tag than about a kingdom perspective, a sense of humble and repentant thankfulness, and a desire to follow Jesus – friend and savior of sinners.
My wife describes herself these days as a “follower of Jesus who worships in a Lutheran community.” She and I are thankful that Jesus eats with sinners and tax collectors. We thank God that his plans are such that outcasts are not to be banished forever from his presence forever. We rejoice in the promises of God’s grace in Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sins, and (especially these days so near to the memorial service for my mother) the hope of the resurrection and promise of eternal life.
We’re all sick. Thank God we have the Great Physician and Healer of our Souls, Jesus Christ!