Sitting quietly post Easter contemplating the current cultural/political moment in the United States brings an unusually intense conflation of thoughts and emotions. For instance, after once again rehearsing the saga of Jesus’ last days I am still brooding about the political machinations, corruptions and accommodations that led to his execution. These are not directly applicable to our contemporary moment, but suggestive enough to challenge our assumptions about current machinations, corruptions and accommodations that lead to justice-denying outcomes in 2016.
The story provides a lens to view our situation, perhaps from 30,000 feet, where we feel less personally threatened by what we see. But looking through that Jesus lens, it’s not very pretty, is it? And part of what isn’t pretty involves the machinations, corruptions and accommodations of various church factions that seem more concerned with power and place than compassion and justice. Jesus seems to get left behind, that is, the content of his life and teaching, the modeling of humble focus on the least, the last and the lost and a willingness to hold that commitment to the point of death.
I say, “church factions,” but the truth is, each of us has our own corruptible predilections where personal opinion, tradition, and self-affirming point-of-view trump the content of what we might otherwise claim to hold dear; for instance, our commitment to love God above all else and our neighbor as ourselves. Easy to say—has a nice affirming ring. But how does that translate into social commitments? Are we alert to the linkages? Willing to challenge our assumptions? Can we connect the dots between the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth and the life and times of (fill in your name)?
That’s how my meditation has flowed this week while observing the unraveling political discourse. More than ever I’m feeling the need to assert something hopeful and constructive as a positive rebellion against the crumbling values. Can you imagine your involvement with the ministries of Christ Church as a hopeful, rebellious act? Odd to say, but as our culture continues to morph, joining up with a faith community like Christ Church feels increasingly like a dynamic uprising on behalf of the common good. How ‘bout inviting a few more rebels to join the fray??
The Reverend Dr. Stephen Bauman