I live in Victoria, BC. Don't tell too many people, but this is really paradise.
For that reason, we are one of the stops on many Alaskan cruises during the season. This year (2009) there are supposed to be at least 215 cruise ships docked for a day, unloading something like 400,000 passengers.
Now I expect most of those passengers haven't been here before, and many won't come again. Their entire experience of the city, its people, architecture, food, culture, and tourist sites will have to occur over a period of a few brief hours.
Of course, our tourist agency will make sure these lovely people are exposed to the things we want them to see. We bill ourselves as being "more British than the British", so we will make sure they have the opportunity to ride our double-decker buses.
As well, they need to see our wonderful provincial government building. We are quite proud of this building (but perhaps not so proud of some of the decisions made therein).
As tourists, they need to visit our outdoor market on the inner harbor, where a wide variety of First Nations and other crafts are available, as well as street musicians. One of my favorite artists make some pretty awesome surreal stuff with paint spray cans, and a few small props. This is an example.
But enough of the travel ad, and back to the premise. Lots of people visit our fair city, and have a few short hours to get a feel for the place. My bet is that they get to buy a few souvenirs, eat some food, walk a few blocks around our touristy downtown core, and then leave--without ever really getting to know who we really are. And our chance is over, they are back on their cruise ship, and may never visit Victoria again.
Do you see where I am going with this? Although I expect you are getting an idea, let me spell it out for you. Lots of people have the unique and special opportunity of meeting us every day. Who knows, we might be the only Christ follower they see today. Maybe for many days.
Do they get a true picture of what a follower of Christ is? Or do they just see a facade, an act, or worse, a bad example of Jesus? We have the opportunity to live and love like Jesus, but is that what they will see? Or will they see someone mouthing off about something in the name of Jesus?
Will they see a loving reflection of this God we say we serve, or something less admirable?
We might only have that one chance to let someone know what God is like. Next time they might already be so turned off that they will only hear or see the negative expression they are expecting.
So, let the true Jesus out.
39 minutes ago