Sunday, November 1, 2020

Political and Faithful; 1 Kings 17:8-16


Rev. George Miller

Nov 1, 2020

1 Kings 17:8-16


Over the past 6 months, Emmanuel UCC has been active in the community.  We’ve shown up, spoken out, hosted and attended events.


One comment we sometimes hear is that politics should not play a role in religion.


While we can’t speak about other faiths, we know as a fact that politics has ALWAYS been part of the Judeo-Christian narrative.


Genesis begins with God creating the world and giving humans the dominion and responsibility to care for creation.


Exodus starts with Shiphrah and Puah refusing to obey the commands of the pharaoh. 


Exodus continues with God hearing the cries of the enslaved immigrants, freeing them, and totally deconstructing a nation’s economy that was entirely based on a workforce of slaves.


Political concern continues with Jesus.


In Luke 4, Jesus declares that God sent him to “bring good news to the poor…proclaim release to the captives and…to let the oppressed go free.”


Look at the Lord’s Prayer- Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done…


These are political terms and images.


What kind of Kingdom do you think Jesus is referring to?


As covenantal members of the UCC we would say that Christ is referring to a kingdom in which justice, kindness and ethical humility matter.


A Kingdom is which we each care for God’s beautiful nahalah and leave behind a legacy of blessings.


A Kingdom in which the widow, orphan, and least of these are cared for.


Today’s reading involves politics and faith.  It’s set during the rule of King Ahab, called the most evil of all kings.


King Ahab put up gates, built altars to false gods and dismissed all claims of injustice.  As a result, a natural disaster hit the country- the rain ceases to fall.


3 weeks go by- no rain.  3 months go by- no rain.  3 years go by, no rain.


The land, the people suffers financially, spiritually, and physically.


At the lowest point of this unforgiving disaster, a widow, with nothing left to her name but a handful of meal and a spit-ful of oil goes to the edge of the city, and gathers wood for one last supper.


We don’t know how long she’s been a widow.  We don’t know how old her son is. We don’t know if she was always poor, or if she was working class or very rich at one time.


What we do know is this- a natural disaster has struck her and her son so hard that she is on the outskirts of town, unattended, and completely vulnerable to all forms of danger.


What she’s gathered is 2 sticks; 2 sticks to start a fire in the middle of a drought in which all she has is a bit of this and a smidgen of that.


Let’s take a moment…

Let’s pause right here…

Let this story sink in….

        Let it breathe.


We are just 2 days away from Election Day; perhaps the single most important, divisive election in our lifetime.


For those who have yet to vote, who are you going to vote for?


I won’t tell you who to vote for, but what we’re going to do is this-


When you vote, when you select your leaders for Commissioners, judges, Representatives, President, and Vice President, ask yourself-


Who would be most beneficial for the widow and her son in today’s scripture?


If the widow and her son were here today, who would they vote for?  What would they most be concerned about?


When going to the polling booth, before checking off a single name, ask yourself-


If all you had were 2 sticks, a handful of flour and a thimbleful of oil, who would you want to see you through the next 4 years?


As you vote, ask yourself-


Who most embodies the Kingdom of Heaven as you understand it?


Who will lead with gentleness, kindness, and humility?


Who, for you, embodies passion and compassion for all?


As you vote, think back to the words of Jesus and ask who will “bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, and let the oppressed go free?”


When you vote, keep in mind that you are not just a citizen of the United States, but you are a Citizen of Heaven.


We are Citizens of God’s Kingdom.


We are the children of Sarah and Rachel.  We continue the legacy of Hannah and Queen Esther.


We are wise like Shiphrah and Puah.


We are creations of the One True God who called use to have dominion and to show care for all creation.


Who do we vote for?  Why?


What would the orphan and widow ask you to do for them come Tuesday?


What appears to be the most Christian choices to you?


In grace and wisdom, we say “Amen.”

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