In between my morning coffee run and getting to work I heard the Bangles’ Walk Like an Egyptian on the radio as I flipped stations. And of course, now it’s stuck in my head. If you’ve never seen the video, you’re missing out.
Most people, when they hear the song hook, “walk like an Egyptian,” instantly know the body posture that the song references. In our heads we see those paintings done on the inside of ancient Egyptian tombs from thousands of years ago. Looking over your shoulder, one arm raised up behind you with a flat hand, and the other down below, with a flat hand, like you’re holding plates.
I wish that people could do this for Christians. When someone says to “walk like a Christian,” there are a lot of different postures that come to mind. Maybe you think of Joel Osteen and his wife, arms raised in the old Astrodome as thousands applaud at the wealth they have been given.
Maybe you see in your head the Facebook profile of your white friend that just went to a war-torn country holding a small child with a different skin color and smiling as if to say, “I came to love this child.” Maybe you see a room full of hypocrites, maybe you see people serving at soup kitchens. Maybe you see your old camp counselor from your childhood as they play silly games with you for hours.
It’s a blessing and a curse. There are lots of different ways to see Christians, but there are also lots of ways in which Christians need to relearn how to walk. Sometimes, it’s the subtle steps we take that make the greatest impact on others.
A while ago, I was dealing with a volunteer who was distressed that we were not able to pray aloud with the people we were serving. “But how will they know that we are Christians if we do not pray?!” It took me a moment, because I couldn’t believe that I was even being asked this question.
Yes. Prayer is absolutely important. In fact, it’s necessary. Here’s what Jesus has to say in the Gospel of Matthew has to say about prayer and helping others:
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Parent in heaven.
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needs, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Parent, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Parent, who is unseen. Then your Parent, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Parent knows what you need before you ask them.Matt. 6:1-8 (NIV)
The point is, if you want to walk like a Christian your actions should say it all, you shouldn’t need words to display the love of Christ.
Jesus didn’t just say that he was going to die and be resurrected for all of humanity, (he tried explaining several times and the disciples never got it) he actually did it (and then they got it).