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Decoration or Declaration



After I took this picture, I went to the Merlin app which identifies birds from a photograph or from their songs. Since this one was not singing, I used the photo identification. My original thought was that they would not be able to identify it because of its feathers. But they did and they said it was a house finch. If you look at Merlin’s file photo of a house finch, you never would have put the two together. It does not look like a house finch is supposed to look. Maybe it is a house finch just having a bad hair day.


This had me thinking: if someone took a picture of me, would they identify me as a Christian? Probably not because I do not know how a Christian is supposed to look. As I look around the Church, we really do not look the same. So, it cannot be how we look that identifies us as a Christian but how we act, and speak, and interact with people. Yet we do wear things that we hope will tell the world that we are Christians. A preacher long ago asked if we wear a cross, is it for decoration or declaration? From a photograph it is impossible to tell. It is only as we interact that our Christian identity is revealed.


Jesus said in John 13:35, “This is how they will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” A popular Christian hymn taken from that verse says they will know we are Christians by our love. (I would be willing to bet you are singing that hymn to yourself now.) But how do we show our love? How do we demonstrate our love not just to our close family members, but to the entire world?


In Matthew Chapter 25 Jesus said when we see the least of those around us who are hungry and give them food, we are showing love. When we give them a drink, or welcome them in, or clothe them, or visit them, we do it to Him. Wearing a cross does not make you a Christian; it could only be a decoration. Declaring it through love in action tells the world that you are a disciple of Jesus.

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