Every week, for years, at the conclusion of the Catholic Mass I attend, the priest instructs the church body to "go in peace to love and serve the Lord."
The music then begins playing for the recessional.
I'm sure many of you have pastors who offer a very similar message.
For some, these words mean it's time to get your coat on and start searching for car keys in a pocket or purse.
For others it serves as a very important reminder. A reminder about our true purpose on this planet.
I admit there are weeks when the reinforcing words offered before my exit just wash over me without great impact. But for some reason, recently, the words have really been landing heavily on my heart. I'm guessing that's because God is trying to send me a message that perhaps I haven't been doing a very good job lately of living up to that charge.
Recently, I heard a person say, "When God strikes you, he'll use a metaphor or a two-by-four." Fortunately, I got this one with a metaphor.
Treat others as we would wish to be treated. Great words. Sound instruction. But how many of us really go out of our way to make sure we're treating others in a fashion which we would wish to be treated.
If someone had stopped you on April 13, and charged you with being a Christian exhibitionist over the past month, would there be enough evidence to convict you among a jury of your peers? If you can say "yes," congratulations on walking the walk. If not, well, you're not alone I'm afraid - myself included.
That's why I think God is trying to get through to me. I believe that's why those words have been ringing in my head. "Go in peace to love and serve the Lord."
So how exactly do you do that? Some go on mission trips. Some reach out to those in need of assistance in their community. Some take an active role in church services through music or teaching.
But what are some of the more practical ways to live out this role on daily basis?
A simple smile, a kind word, some time out for a moment of prayer. There are many little ways one can choose to demonstrate Christian faith without having to invade someone's person bubble. The best way I can think of is to simply model behavior for all others to make your witness available for all to see. A simple smile to a stranger. Kind words for someone in need of an uplifting comment. An anonymous gift. A helping hand for someone who could use it.
Take Easter, among the holiest of all Christian holidays, and use it as a milestone and opportunity for a new start. Don't just be a one-hour Sunday Christian - and I say that guilty as charged some weeks.