Rose Building By Any Other Name"
March 25, 2009
And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the Church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. Acts 11:26
Last week, the word went out: Chicago's Sears Tower, the tallest office building in the Western Hemisphere, would henceforth be known as Willis Tower.
As an ex-Chicago boy, my first reaction was "Whoa, that's not right!" That's like calling the Statue of Liberty the "Big Green Lady in New York Harbor" or saying the St. Louis Arch is "The Half Oval Stainless Steel Thingy." They might be accurate, but they just don't seem right.
My second reaction was that times change, and it doesn't make much difference what you call the building. In truth, that building by any other name would be just as tall and just as visible in the Chicago skyline.
I imagine the same can be said about those who believe in the crucified and risen Savior. The book of Acts says, "in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians."
That's quite an honor, quite a responsibility. Sadly, in the minds of many people today, and depending on their perspective, the term "Christian" has become synonymous with being prejudicial, puritanical, perverted, provincial, and prudish.
I cannot speak to the accuracy of that kind of thinking. What I can say is every believer is a forgiven sinner and a representative of the grace that comes through the Savior's sacrifice. We may never be able to change how others perceive us, but we can -- to the best of our ability -- lead lives that plainly show Jesus Christ has transformed our lives. For eternity, most certainly He had done this, but He has also changed us here and now.
How did Luther say it, "For all of which it is my duty to thank and praise, to serve and obey Him." Thankful Christians living for their Savior -- that is what people should think of when they see us, when they hear the name "Christian."
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Lord, when the world looks at me, they judge the Savior. That is a terribly unfair thing for them to do, but it does happen. So they may see the wonders of the Savior's love, help me live my life as a thankful, forgiven sinner. In the Name of Jesus who has changed me, I pray it. Amen.
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Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries