I intended to boycott the State of the Union address. Then my kids made a compelling case for being “informed citizens.” Dang.
So we all sat down to watch a man who launched his political career on a racist lie stoke many of the troubling messages that got him elected, including repeatedly demonizing immigrants, all of it inspiring standing ovations from half the chamber.
Needless to say, I didn’t love it. But I am all the more convinced of the church’s critical role in these days and that’s why I’m so grateful I am to be in ministry with you. Because if we don’t proclaim and follow the actual Jesus of scripture who embraces the other, welcomes the stranger, serves the poor, offers free universal healthcare, and challenges the rich, we might be stuck with the ALT-Jesus who fears the other, expels the stranger, blames the poor, ignores the sick, feeds the rich, and so on.
At the same time we can’t fall in the trap of demonizing demonizers. Jesus didn’t do that. He knew we can’t overcome malice with more of the same. He cast out demons and confronted the malaise of our world with fierce compassion and relentless love. We can do that too!
This is my first week as your new senior pastor. I’m excited because there is something very special about this church, the likes of which I have not seen anywhere else. And I believe God is calling us to even greater things as we do justice, love mercy and walk humbly. I don’t know what that is, but I can’t wait to find out!
See you Sunday… because, where else?