Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I want to share with you how helpful our Bishop, Craig Loya, and the Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, have been during this most turbulent time.In the last week they have each said powerful things that have certainly been led by the Holy Spirit, and speak truth to us today.
I heard Bishop Curry say that during this time “we need to learn how to kneel and stand at the same time.” While it is a time to speak boldly of the message of Jesus, the message of love, it is also at the same time, a time to be humble, recognizing that no one holds all of the truth, and that we just might be wrong. Kneeling is also a posture that reminds us that we are human, a child of God and that every human being is a child of God.
I am working on kneeling and standing at the same time and I hope you will join me. It is only with God’s help that we can be in that place.
Bishop Loya has been calling his clergy to speak boldly, and has been helpful in clarifying our Christian response during this season of political upheaval.
Over my lifetime, I have heard many things like, “you cannot mix religion and politics,” and “there is a separation of Church and State” as if there is no relationship at all. At the same time, we believe that: all that we are; all that we do; we are to be centered in Jesus.
Bishop Loya reminded us that Jesus was political. There, I said it. Jesus was political! His crucifixion was a political statement. Jesus said political things all of the time and his teachings about God’s kingdom where completely counter cultural and… political.
Having said that, we must acknowledge at the same time, that “Jesus was NOT PARTISAN.” There is no special “God ordained” party. Persons of every political party have followed Jesus throughout history.
As a follower of Jesus, we have a moral obligation to vote our conscience. We also have some pretty clear messages from Jesus about what matters to God:
A new commandment I give to you, love your neighbor as yourself – Blessed are the poor, the lowly, the hungry, the mourning, the prisoner – Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you – Forgive us our sins as we forgive others – Lose your life and you will find it – Seek first the kingdom of God.
My personal favorite is what Jesus said beginning his ministry in Luke’s gospel. (Luke 4: 14-21)
Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15 He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Friends, it is my prayer that Jesus will be your measuring stick. Put the way of Jesus, the way of love in the center of your decisions, knowing that there is no perfect choice. While Jesus is not a partisan, Jesus does have a “side” and that is to stand up for the most vulnerable in our world and to live in God’s kingdom.
Please know that choosing not to make a choice, is a choice.
Jesus is calling us to pick his way, and to figure out how to kneel and stand all at once.
Blessings and love to you all.