Sunday, November 13, 2016

What I Would've Preached Today: On Subversion through Not Being Afraid

We don’t fully know what’s ahead. We don’t know what campaign promises the president-elect will act upon in his first 100 days. 

We don’t know what will happen related to immigration policies, foreign wars, ISIS, international trade, domestic infrastructure, law enforcement, relationships with our Muslim and LGBTQ neighbors, etc. We have about 70 days to make speculations, some more accurate than others, but we don’t really know. 

And when we don’t know, we fear. Our speculations lead us to imagine the worst. Frankly, the rhetoric of this recent election season has given the American people more than enough warrant to do just that. It’s also part of the game politicians play- even those who claim to be outsiders and anti-establishment. 

There’s really no such thing. 

What we do know, we are called to embody the same witness to the gospel alongside those who are on the margins of systems, the fringe of our communities, and the targets of abusive language of ignorance and offense that has gained a renewed platform in recent days. 

In the midst of it all, we also know we are called to echo the compassion of Christ, "do not be terrified.” (Luke 21:9). 

This is not to say there are no reasons for concern. For there are many.

Rather, this message subverts the powers-that-be and their patrons as we dare proclaim, live into, and link arms in solidarity with those who tremble in the midst of uncertainty and the crumbling of what is. We assure one another we belong to the One whose reign is always on the side of margin dwellers.

We also know we are to act in the face of our darkest fears, no matter what the law of the land may say (Luke 21:12-18). If we as the church feel so strong about gender equality, dismantling racism and all phobias, providing sanctuary for the refugee, prioritizing economic justice, leveraging peacemaking initiatives, strengthening interfaith relations, and reducing the polarization and characterization of the other (even those with whom we disagree), we must work towards these things even now. Especially now. We must ensure our own ecclesial institutions and communities model what we hope and lobby for in the State. We must beware of and reduce the plank-eye syndrome. 

This is hard yet honest work.  

When our theological convictions, which frame our witness in the world, are not shared by those in power we dare not shrink back. This is true regardless of who occupies the Oval. As some say, we hold the line and continue to carry cross. We bear witness no matter the cost. We endure, assured that in so doing we gain our very souls. 

Church, we don’t know much about what’s ahead. We can merely speculate and anticipate. 

But be careful not to fear. May we also not become that which we condemn. Rather, embrace the call of Christ that is as urgent now as it was when the earliest saints were first bid to follow. 

They endured. So must we. 

"By your endurance you will gain your souls." 

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