taking the words of Jesus seriously

Yesterday I came across a video of Tony Campolo on Facebook telling the story of how he bought a cake for a prostitute in a Honolulu diner, at 3:00am. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to listen to this before reading on:

What struck me about this story was the fact that Tony didn’t think twice about buying a cake for a prostitute. He seems right at home in this greasy little diner, choosing to sit at the same bar and eat the same greasy food that she eats every single day. It’s in this greasy, messy moment that Tony overhears her talk about her upcoming birthday and how she’s never had a birthday party or a cake….ever.

Related: I’m Gay at a Conservative Christian College

So Tony arranges to come back to the same greasy diner the next day, at the same outrageous hour of 3:00 am, when the rest of the world is sleeping, to throw a party and present a birthday cake to a prostitute.

Yet there’s another story in the news,  a story about a wedding cake, that isn’t sounding at all like Tony’s story. Somewhere, there are people who want to have a wedding cake made for their gay wedding but are being refused because the person who makes the cakes is opposed to homosexuality. A nation stands watching while the law determines if legislation is required to protect “righteous” people from being forced to serve “unrighteous” people.

And so, as I ponder these two stories about two different kinds of cakes, I find myself asking:

What if every Christian were more like Tony?

What if we baked birthday cakes for people whose lifestyle is different from our own but who are human beings, image bearers, just like us?

What if we baked cakes for each other just to celebrate who we ARE rather than what we DO?

I wonder if the “gay wedding cake story” would have unfolded differently if the customer and the store owner had first shared birthday cake and coffee in a greasy diner together? Maybe sharing laughter and tears over birthday cake would have brought them closer together and not further apart?

Related: Why ‘Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin’ Doesn’t Work

Maybe the storyline needs to be simplified even more…

Jesus bakes bread and serves each one of us. We bring nothing to the Table but our sin. He gently washes our hands and bathes our feet with tenderness and love. The Feast was never supposed to be about who we are or what we’ve done. It’s a celebration of Jesus, how his love reached out to us while we were still dead in our sin, and how he baked a cake for us and invited us to come, and eat, and live.

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