Not Everyone Who Says 'Lord, Lord'

You know the riff: Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt 7:21).
There was lots of Jesus talk in the presentation and answers from, the nominees for Presiding Bishop last week. Everyone got into it. And it was good. We now have a new Presiding Bishop and all those parts of that presentation are now in our prayers for different reasons than before. They are all a rich blessing to our common life.
Still, I wonder: from the standpoint of participating in and being part of the Body of Christ, lots of “Lord” talk, or “Jesus” talk for that matter, is not very useful or even always necessary. This is because it is doing the will of God that is the issue, not constantly referencing the sacred or holy name.
This is not to say we Episcopalians ought not use Jesus talk. Actually it was refreshing to hear Jesus on the lips of the nominees. But it is to say that the radical call to discipleship is not about saying “Lord, Lord,” or “Jesus, Jesus,” as if the will of God was somehow the outcome of such utterance.
We need to say “do justice now,” and “love mercy now,” and act on those imperatives. And then those who hear us will know we are invoking words that Jesus loved and will know too that we have Jesus in our lives in so many ways.
I think more conversation among all of us about doing the will of God is in order, and less about saying “Lord, Lord,” is in order.  When the day is finished we will still need to work at the challenge to do the will of God, which God is apparently more interested in our doing than our saying.
- Mark Harris, Priest


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