In Acts 11 today, we see the story of a growing Church. People in great numbers are turning to the Lord. Barnabas brings Saul with him to Antioch, and they stay there for a whole year, preaching and teaching. Acts 11:26 tells us “it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.” In the Gospel reading today from John 10, Jesus speaks again about his sheep. “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
Christian. Many people look at that word differently. To some, it is a badge of honor. To others, it represents just the opposite. Christians are haters, or weak-kneed people who need a crutch. There are some Christians who don’t even feel that other Christians are Christians. I have been told on numerous occasions that, because I am Catholic, I am not really a Christian. It can all be quite confusing to some, especially those “on the outside looking in.” So what does it mean to be Christian?
Well, the Apostle’s Creed certainly lays out the basics. But how can someone know that someone else is a Christian just by what they believe – by what is going on in their head? They can’t. But they can tell through their actions. Maybe one of the easiest ways is to recall the title of an old song. “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.” We Christians may have far reaching differences in matters of doctrine and belief. But if we’re not united in our love for one another…well, perhaps we need to rethink what we call ourselves.
Father, help us today to be better Christians. To follow Christ. To love one another as Christ has loved us. Help us to let others know we are Christians by our love. Amen.