Friday, December 24, 2010

A Savior Who Is Christ the Lord

My last Advent study was that of Jesus as "savior."  As I read various views of this name for Jesus, two points-of-view were evident.  One was that of Jesus as "my" savior, while the other was that of Jesus as "the" savior.  For many Christians, Jesus is the only savior, the only way of approaching God, the Savior, with a capital "S."  For those who hold this view, persons who don't share their view are not Christians; for them, Christianity is the only true religion, and Jesus must be worshiped as God incarnate, the savior who redeems the world from sin by his sacrificial death, and this path of reconciliation to God is the only true faith.

I cannot subscribe to this belief.  I only know what I experience in my heart.  I know that Jesus is my savior, who guides me along the path of service to God by serving others.  For me, Jesus is the savior of the world because his teachings of love for God and our neighbors lead us to a profound change in our hearts, replacing the selfish egocentricity of our lives with a love-centered existence that views all others as children of God deserving of our love, compassion, and service.   Jesus saves us by setting an example of unconditional love that accepts people as they are, not demanding that they must change in order to be worthy of love.

If we follow the teachings of Jesus, if we accept his pattern for our lives, he saves us from an empty existence that values things more than people.  Can we live this life of love without accepting Jesus as "savior?"  Each human heart must make that decision, and as I observe many loving people and read about the unselfish service that many non-Christians practice in the world, I cannot condemn these who are living lives that are consistent with Jesus' teachings, even though they may not call themselves Christians.  If that makes me a "pluralist," and for some a non-Christian, so be it.  I can only follow the path along which I believe God is leading me.

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