For it is the God who said,
“Let light shine out of darkness,”
who has shone in our hearts
to give the light of the knowledge
of the glory of God
in the face of Jesus Christ.
(2 Corinthians 4:6)
This morning my social media newsfeed continued to be filled with reactions to Tuesday's presidential debate. Perhaps yours was too.
Some would say that priests should not discuss politics because it could compromise the sense of inclusion of some congregants. To them, I ask forgiveness and offer love unconditionally. I take concern for the hearts of all who call Church of the Holy Apostles home. In taking concern for the hearts of this community, I take concern for anything which permeates our shared life and values.
On my newsfeed, I saw outrage because our current president refused to condemn white-supremacy groups, I saw sadness because the two candidates were bickering and taking petty jabs at each other more than they were debating anything that will benefit the country, I saw determination for the protection of democracy, I saw weariness in the apathetically unsurprised, and it goes on.
What I did not see was joy or hope in reaction to the debate or about the future of our country.
This is surely a reflection of some algorithm. Nonetheless, I think if we are inundated with a collective narrative that consistently echoes judgement, division, and hate through social media and all the other outlets which we consume regularly, than it becomes quite easy to lose sight of the holy, and it becomes devilishly easy to forget that we are bound to one another, or even fall into the devilish delusion that God does not ache and long for each one of our hearts.
So if anyone is in Christ,
there is a new creation:
everything old has passed away;
see, everything has become new!
All this is from God,
who reconciled us
and has given us the ministry of reconciliation
(2 Corinthians 5:17-18)
As Christians, we must denounce that which perpetuates harm and hold leaders accountable to moral and ethical standards in a hope of protecting marginalized, at-risk, and oppressed peoples and in hopes of preserving the gift of land, sea, and sky. Righteous anger at the exploitation of the poor, oppressed, and disadvantaged is certainly biblical, though it is never the core of the lesson or the last word.
We pray for the heart of those who do harm and seek out Christ in all people, in all places, and in all circumstances. We look in our own eye before we look in another’s for sin. We pray for forgiveness as we forgive others. Then we act in accordance with the grace and guidance found there – it is only from this space that we may receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit to act in accordance with God, not only to denounce what would act against God, but to participate in the transformational reconciling work that brings such things back into concord with the holy. The actions we take when, while, and after we feel the stirring of our moral conscience are the writing tools continuing the story of salvation between God and the world.
The wellspring of life – the immeasurable love that is GOD – can make pathways over any mountain, can build bridges between peoples where there were great voids, can heal wounds too deep for words, and can transform any transgression into grace. This is the wellspring which beckons us. It calls us beyond indignation, beyond pettiness, beyond revenge, beyond vindication, beyond hard-heartedness.
Let our actions be signs that point to Christ.
Let our actions be marks of redemption.
Let our actions be of the hope that changes hearts and minds.
Let our actions be holy.
Glory to God
whose power at work within us
can do infinitely more
than all we can ask or imagine,
Glory to God
from generation to generation in the Church,
and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.
Yours in Christ,
P.S. Here’s some helpful info for the coming weeks:
October 25 - Our church services will remain online only until October 25th and then we offer the option to attend in person, as well as continue online streaming.
October 4th - "Blessing of the Animals." This year we will share a blessing for your fur babies virtually and we invite you to send photos of your pets to be shared in a video montage during the October 4th virtual service. Please email photos to Doug, our A/V extraordinaire, at firstname.lastname@example.org.