I love bumper stickers. Those short, pithy sayings that can make me laugh – or think.
One of my favorites questioned, “Where are we going? And why are we in this handbasket?” It makes me smile whenever I think about it.
Or the bumper sticker that reads, “Knock, knock. Who’s there? Doctor.” Coming from a family of “Doctor Who” fans, I like the subtlety.
Or the sticker that I saw in traffic the other day, “I’m not lost. I’m exploring.” It’s a good attitude, even when it isn’t true.
I know people criticize what is often labelled “bumper sticker theology,” the temptation to define complex subjects with the briefest phrase. But sometimes a short quote can provide much food for thought.
Here’s one that I like:
Love God. Love your neighbor. Save the world. (Episcopal Church)
Now, I know you could argue with that. You might say, “It makes it sound too easy.” If you could engage the bumper sticker in conversation, you might want to raise topics like multi-cultural differences or gun violence or even about that annoying woman who sat next to you on the bus. But bumper stickers aren’t about dialogues. At their best, they remind us of what is true.
With just 8 words this bumper sticker describes an entire way of life. Love God. That’s first. Then – Love your neighbor. Because that is what God tells us to do. If we do those two things – which are not easy and which we will fail spectacularly at many times each day – we will change the world.
Try it. Express your love for God through gratitude and thanksgiving. Take a few moments to think about your blessings today and give thanks.
Try to love your neighbor – not just someone next door, but also the person you live with, or the sullen store clerk, or the over-worked waitress, or micro-managing boss, or your petty cop-worker, the relative who calls too often or who never calls at all…you get the idea.
Those actions, given to God, will change the world. Notice – we don’t have to change the world ourselves (that would be a lot of responsibility). We need to live the way that God tells us and trust that God can use those actions. God will change the world, with us and through us.
Or – to use another bumper sticker to say it another way:
To believe is to care. To care is to do. (United Church of Christ).
Let’s not make faith more complicated than it is. Let’s allow God’s love to move us to action.