I’m standing on the London Underground (also known as the Tube), my hand tightly wrapped around the metallic rod stretched between floor and ceiling. As the train slows, I brace myself to avoid toppling like a rag doll. My eyes scan the area, taking in all the human interaction around me; or better said, the lack thereof.
While studying the surrounding passengers, my attention is suddenly drawn towards the base of the pole I clasp as the shrill voice of a child breaks the silence. A young boy chants loudly, while dancing around the metro handle at my feet, “I’m a Christian, I’m a Christian!” His sing-song voice intentionally chaps the hide of his older, yet similarly petite sister.
I watch as her face tightens in frustration in attempt to form her rebuttal. Then, slowly, yet somehow all at once, her brow releases and her fair profile emulates confusion. Her head turns upward, seeking the clarification of a wise mother, and says, “Mum, am I a Christian?” To which her caring matriarch replies, “Yes dear, Catholics fit under the umbrella of Christianity.”
The girl nods, still with an inquisitive look crossed her face, and then smiles and triumphantly declares, “I’m a Christian, too!”
I don’t hear more of the rivalrous sibling exchange, because my train of thought is now on a new set of tracks.
“Am I a Christian?” I wonder silently. Well, of course I am. But what does it really mean to BE a Christian? Is it simply to call yourself Catholic, or Baptist, or Evangelical, or Mormon, or any other sect covered by the overarching umbrella?
For me, it is more than that. For me it means to do as Christ would do if He were here.
In the novel Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis states, “[To be Christian]means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.”
Am I doing those things that I feel I need to do to consider myself a Christian? Am I doing my best to be more and more like Him everyday? Do I act a certain way because “a first faint gleam of heaven is already inside [me]?”
My invitation this month is for each of us to take a personal inventory. To ask the pressing question, “Am I a Christian?” To take the time to define what it means to be Christian for us personally, and to make specific, achievable goals to be better at doing what He would have us do.