Last night I sat with my kids watching the news as we saw the replay of the storming of the Capitol building in Washington D.C.. There is a lot to say about the ways in which this blows my mind, a lot to say about the way that things were handled by both the president and the leaders who support him. However, that isn’t what I wanted to talk about this morning; the thing that broke my heart was a man walking through the crowd waving a Jesus flag. It just about broke my heart to see that flag being carried around in the midst of such a counter gospel display. Jesus, the servant King who washed the feet of men, who served the lowest of the low, the one who called us to LOVE our enemies and neighbours, the son of God who healed the leper, who touched the unclean and made them new, the one who raised the dead… this is the man/God who is now being used to support a man who is raising an army of hate, who is causing division, who is promoting his own self serving agenda, who is bullying anyone who stands against him, even his ‘friends’. This is not what Jesus would be doing if he were in the US today, Jesus would be sitting in the cages with the children who have been stolen from their parents, he would feeding the hungry, he would standing with the poor and broken in society and lovingly reaching out to the same people that Trump hates, he would be in the halls of the hospitals comforting the health care teams who have been left to fight Covid on their own while the president abdicates his responsibilities in favour of waging war on democracy. My heart aches today for those who have chosen to take the name of Jesus and make it look like a hate symbol, it sickens me as a believer, angers me as a woman of faith, policies aside, this man is not the friend of the Christians in America, he is using them to forward his agenda and I can only sit and pray that somehow God forgives and redeems. That he lifts the scales from the eyes of the men and women who have been following a wolf in sheep clothing, that he clears minds, renews faith, reveals his deep love of all people not just a certain political group.
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii[and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
God’s greatest command to us was to love our neighbour as we love ourselves. We are to love our enemies, to love the people who disagree with us, to love those who persecute us, to love the person you find it hard to forgive, to love the person who makes our life difficult, to love the dirty homeless man, to love the drug addict, to love the cop, to love the black man, to love the indigenous woman, to love the Mexican, to love the family member who has hurt you, to love the leader you didn’t vote for… he didn’t specify who to love, he said LOVE your neighbour, love your enemy. He didn’t say love the one who votes the same way as you, he didn’t say love the person you voted for and hate the one that you didn’t vote for, he didn’t say love the unborn child but hate the people they grow up to be, he just asks us to love, to forgive, to have mercy, to be servants in His Kingdom and leave the judgment to him.
My prayers go out to the families of those who died in the capitol yesterday, whatever their political stripes they will need peace and comfort in the days ahead.