Thursday, June 11, 2009
Saints and Super Heroes
Today is the feast day of Saint Barnabas. Barnabas took the newly converted Saul under his protection when the rest of the faithful were hateful towards him. They either wanted him dead or at least rejected. He had been their tormentor and no one believed that his heart had changed, except for Barnabas. Barnabas was a caregiver, a pastor with a sensitive and loving heart. He wasn't a politician. He just wanted to follow Jesus and offer God's love where ever he went. It was because of Barnabas that the "church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace." (Acts 9:31) Too many of the church's leaders were swayed by politics, then and now, but Barnabas set an example for us all. He didn't try to be a hero, a politician or a martyr. He loved others with a pastors heart and gave from himself for the benefit of others.
"But Barnabas took Saul and brought him to the apostles." Acts 9:27
I am reminded that it is often too easy for us who proclaim our faith in Christ to quickly move to politics. We can hide behind creeds of justice while we overlook the very people in need around us. We can try to be good politicians and superheroes for justice and neglect our own families. Barnabas reminds me that standing with the unpopular, with the rejected and outcast is where we are called. Lovingly including the unpopular, those with shady histories - well, that is the work of the saints of the early church ans the work of the church today.
May God grant us all the strength to serve as Barnabas did, not winning arguments but living compassion and inclusion. I ask God to help me see who is truly excluded and the strength to reach out in love today.