There’s at least one unforgettable line in the new motion picture, The Avengers. Early in the film, Captain America sets off to recover a captive who has been stolen away by the superhero Thor. Before he departs, Black Widow warns him that he should think twice before taking on a god so powerful and well armed. ““There’s only one God, ma’am,” our hero responds blandly, “and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.”
I was reminded of a young man who showed up before worship Sunday to ask questions. Just two weeks before, he had made a decision to renounce Islam and become a follower of Jesus Christ. He still did not understand all that this would mean. But he understood one thing: he was burned out and empty from going to mosques and hearing people talk about hatred and enemies. He confessed wearily, “I just needed to find the love of God.”
Sure, there are people in strange places who delight in a raging deity who loves nothing more than seeing his people slaughter their neighbors. But there are still multitudes of people who don’t yet know God, but know what he’s not. “There’s only one God, ma’am, and I’m pretty sure he’s not like that.”
I thought about another young man from the Middle East who found our church one Sunday morning perhaps two years ago. He returned the next week and the next and the next. We discovered he was a Christian who had renounced Islam just two or three years earlier. After arriving in America, he visited first one Christian church and another. But he eventually gave up and began staying home. “Nobody seemed interested in me. It felt like they couldn’t trust me.” After months away from worship, he met a follower of Christ who invited him to Providence. It wasn’t a particular strain of biblical theology or even the worship style that made him one of us. It was simple love and acceptance. He found some people who loved him and wanted to know him.
What kind of people wear suits and ties to visit highly decorated church buildings where they turn away lonely, isolated men and women ? I don’t know, but there’s only one God, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.
Wanna hear an ironic nugget of truth from our high tech, over-sexed US culture? Google the word sex, and you’ll find 3,250,000,000 results. But Google the word love and you’ll come up with 8,330,000,000 entries! The overwhelming majority of human beings are still searching for authentic love and genuine acceptance.
Sure, we have celebrity atheists who say the Church of Jesus Christ is evil. And yes, there are some angry, unkind people scattered around the world who boast that they are “Christians.” But there’s only one God, ma’am, and most of us are pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.”
Lift up the Cross!