In the late 1st century lived a man known as Rabbi Akiva. Of late, I have been thinking of one recollection of his life.
Rabbi Akiva was walking along the coast of the sea of Galilee meditating on the scripture from Isaiah 43:10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. It slowly got darker as the evening drew close. Rabbi Akiva began to make his journey back to his village when he came to a crossroads. He went one way and carried on for a while more when he came to a small fortress which by now was hidden in the darkness. A loud voice shouted out; “Who are you and what are you doing here?” Akiva stood there, wondering from where this voice had called. Again the voice shouted “Who are you and what are you doing here?” It was then that Rabbi Akiva noticed a man, standing at the post of the fortress. Akiva turned to him and asked. “How much do you get paid to stand here and ask me these questions?” The legionary responded “I get paid 6 drachma.” After pausing to think Akiva answered “I will pay you double if you stand outside my house and ask me those questions every day”.
Who are we and what are we doing here?
Someone in my life, whom I am very close to, announced that they were gay a few years ago. Initially I found it hard to deal with but over time I believed that I had come to a place of respect and love towards this friend and their decisions.
This friend came to visit me and spent some time on vacation with some of the people and myself from our community here in Colombia. It was a really great time, it gave my friend an opportunity to come to Church where he was able to hear me deliver a message on Love. It was a message that I’d given a few times before and I left church that evening thinking that it was great, that this guy was going get a revelation of God’s love for him and would repent of his current lifestyle.
The next day I took him out for coffee at a local shopping mall and from the moment I set my eyes on him, I knew there was something bothering him – I could see it, he was like a shaken can of soda ready to burst. Just as I was getting ready to ask him if he was alright, he lays it out to me. “Your talk last night was about love, yet I don’t see it towards me.” What followed was a number of comments just like the first so, after we’d spoken, I took some time to think about what he’d said and that was when it hit me. I can say I love this person and deep down in my heart I know I do but how are they to know and experience that love if I never show it? It really struck me and I began asking myself, what message am I actually showing?
Recently I’ve been watching some of the XXXChurch videos from last year and I came across the video from the Miami trip with the ‘protesters from hell’. I was again blown away that man can stand and cast judgement on people who are no worse then themselves – what they’re doing is completely tarnishing the very name in which they come. What message are they showing?
Jesus came with an amazing message of love and compassion, finally showing the true extent of his love for us on the cross. No matter what we’ve done, no matter what we’re going to do, we have access to the amazing gift through faith. Sometimes, the message of love that we deliver, can get distorted by our own emotions, circumstances or by those around us. Maybe however, we need to be asking ourselves on a daily basis: “Who am I and what am I doing here”