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“Why I follow Jesus & participate in God’s church?”

One of my favorite TV shows of all time is The West Wing. Produced by Aaron Sorkin, it had an amazing cast and included a group of extremely talented writers. The show depicted life in the West Wing of the White House among the President and his inner circle.

In one-episode President Bartlet, played by Martin Sheen, is up for re-election. His opponents are being asked the question “Why do you want to be President?” They fumble through responses when one member of the President’s staff asks him if he knows his answer to the question? The President who is having a tough day says, “well today I’m not sure why anyone would want this job!”

Over the last two weeks, I have been walking with young people who are choosing to wrestle with their faith like Jacob wrestling with God in the Old Testament.

It occurred to me the question we are asking them to answer though we have done it directly is this— “Why follow Jesus and participate in God’s church?”

It’s not an easy question to answer at any age, let alone as a young person struggling with all that growing up requires in this day and age.

The world invites us to do so many other things. It tells us we must earn our worthiness. That love is not a gift to be shared but a commodity to be gained through our works.

And the truth is faith is hard. Even the disciples struggled to believe that Jesus rose from the dead.

It’s easier to follow the crowd than step out in faith. It feels a lot safer and more comfortable.

And thinking of all this got me worrying a bit. I suddenly wondered what if I was asked directly - “Why follow Jesus and participate in God’s church?”

What would I say that made any sense?

What would be authentic and true and not just some fancy church words that sound good but that I might not even really understand?

And it hit me during worship and not during the sermon or the sacraments but in song.

These were the words -

But Love, love can

change the world

Oh, do we still believe

That love can change the world

Oh, do we still believe in love

God is love; Our God is love

And love can change the world

That is the answer I can give folks -that I believe that love can and does change the world. And that love is best found in the unconditional love of God which was made manifest in Jesus of Nazareth.

Love is both for the answer to the question I may get asked and I more importantly for a hurting world.

My prayer as a people of faith is that we will seek to be a people who goes out and shares this love in bold ways to ALL. Because God’s love is not for a few but for ALL which is indeed good news! (Especially to folks who mess up a lot -like me!)

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