Bruce Main has written a book with an intriguing title, Why Jesus Crossed the Road. But what is even better is his subtitle, arguably one of the longest subtitles ever: Learning to Follow the Unconventional Travel Itinerary of a First-Century Carpenter and His Ragtag Group of Friends as They Hop Fences, Cross Borders, and Generally Go Where Most People Don’t.
Whew! Main goes on to illuminate both the title and the subtitle by making the case that Jesus’ ministry was all about “crossing the road” – traveling to places we might not expect a holy man to travel, spending time with people ostracized by their community, and generally crossing barriers others chose to ignore or to carefully go around.
Jesus’ crossings provide a model for ours as we seek to follow in His way. They require us to:
1) Cross roads to bring the Good News of Christ to all people.
This means going outside our church, and maybe even outside our comfort zone, to share God’s love and grace with people wherever they are – whether they look like us, act like us, think like us, or not. It may mean crossing roads into new worship styles or new life styles in order to see where the Gospel makes a difference in this day.
2) Cross roads to care for all people.
This means seeing others as the “neighbors” Christ tells us to love as ourselves. It means broadening our circle of concern from our own homes and families and church to those who may never darken our doors, but who none-the-less stand in need of our love.
3) Cross roads to not only accept, but to truly celebrate diversity.
This means making friends with people of different faith traditions, or people of different ethnicities, or different orientations. And not only becoming friends, but also becoming partners in the transformation of the world.
Crossing these roads may not be easy. Yet crossing them will surely be fruitful. For us, and for God’s Reign in our midst.