This is what happens when we employ shibboleths. We don’t engage in critical thinking, we don’t assume the value of the other person, and we don’t speak with kindness to or about those outside the boundaries of our groups.
Beware the excuse that lets you off the hook, or lets your friends, your ideological companions, or your heroes off the hook.
But the Word comes nevertheless, not in an earthquake or fire or rushing wind, but in this man, Jesus the Christ. And he offers himself to us; eat from me, drink from me.
Without a doubt, the church should be concerned about the dignity of all people, but the church should be different in that it is the place primarily where justice and dignity are displayed.
Christians are called to witness to the Beauty of the sacred through our rituals, our service, our worship, our love.
By establishing the habits of observing other people’s sufferings, of taking time to notice the pain and fear around them, we teach our children a genuinely Christian ethic. And in this, my hope is that they become adults who care about justice and equality for everyone. My hope in conversations like this is to sensitize my children to the lived experiences of others. My hope is that our children grow up able to hear, rather than disregard, the fears of others.
I wonder, too. Who among us is ready to take God at his word? Who is ready to spend time in repentance, time in surrender, time in confession of faith? Who is willing to be inconvenienced for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ, to be moved to their knees? Who is ready to cry out, not just for ourselves, but for the effectiveness of the Church, for the effectiveness of the gospel flowing through us, for the gospel’s power to renew the world?
God, we confess that we have left to the government the work of the church.
We move as quickly as we can, and as slowly as we need to, for as long as it takes.
This “pacing” principle requires three qualities: a sense of urgency, the discipline to slow down when necessary, and the patience to keep on keeping on. Such pacing is an art that allows us to move forward together.
You also don’t have time for a one-on-one visit with every individual person to offer a uniquely tailored word of pastoral wisdom, and not everyone would want it or welcome it if you did. Instead, you have Sunday morning: a worship service following a very tumultuous week.
You know that you yourself are likely tired of election-related headlines, posts, interviews and memes. While the nation quarrels, the bulletin still has to be printed, the PowerPoint prepped, the hospital visits made, the insurance paperwork filled out.
What will you do with your ten or twenty or thirty minutes?