Greetings everyone. First, I want to say "thank you" for the overwhelming number of people who responded to my message earlier this week. I got e-mails, a phone call and some face to face discussions that allowed the participants and I to further process the visitor's comments and why they struck such a cord. Since I will not be preaching this Sunday at BCUCC, but at Lakeview, I thought I'd take this moment to wander and wonder about the election.
It's getting closer and closer, isn't it? And by now all the debates are over, the sound bites are in; now we have time to let everything marinate. The truth is that most of us already know who we are going to vote for. Perhaps some are unsure.
What has been in my mind are the politics of Jesus. We often see Jesus many ways: healer, teacher, Savior, table-mate, shepherd. But do we also think of him as a political speaker? In many ways he was. Didn't he talk about the poor, the hungry, the naked, the sick, the foreigner? Didn't he interact with a man who was mentally ill, a woman who was about to be killed for her sexual practices, and didn't he say "Give to Caesar what is Ceasar's"?
These were all political actions, it's just that Jesus made them personal.
But I want us to look upon a favorite of ours with a new set of eyes/ears: The Lord's Prayer. And listen to it for its political overtones: Our Father, who art in heaven Hallowed be thy name Thy KINGDOM come, thy WILL be done On EARTH as it is in HEAVEN Give us this day our daily BREAD and FORGIVE us our DEBTS as we FORGIVE our DEBTORS and lead us not into temptation But DELIVER us from EVIL For thine is the KINGDOM, the POWER and the Glory forever, Amen.
Wow: I never realized it before, but look how poltical, yet personal that prayer is. Images of kingdom/rule/government, making sure the people are fed, forgiving those who have debt/made mistakes, protecting people from evil/harm's way, having power.
If you ever wanted to know why Jesus was killed, it was pratically because he spoke about God's kingdom being over and above the kingdom and goverments of the world, and many of the leaders did not like it.
But for the next three weeks, here is what I challenege us to do: as we go about discerning who we believe, who we truly believe will be the next best president of our nation, let us keep the Lord's Prayer in mind and ask who do we believe will best work to make that prayer a reality. Who do you believe will do a better job of fulfilling God's heavenly will, who will make sure the people are fed, and to keep people are safe. And where does the role of forgiveness and debts come into play? That's a lot to feast upon. But I pray that it will give us all something to prayerfully think about. Blessings to all of you, Pastor G