I have been praying deeply about us for the past few days. We are in a tight spot in our relationship. I
|Pastor Julia in her 2016 Xmas Sermon costume (a star)|
Nevertheless, I have come to an impasse. Here's the thing. I love you, my parishioner, my friend, my sibling in Christ. I love you, my neighbor, my fellow citizen, my co-creator in the Spirit. I love you, fellow created being, depender on grace, seeker of mercy. More importantly, God loves you. It is my deep, convicting, passionate, overwhelming, brooding awareness of
God's love for you that will not let me lie to you about Jesus.
Jesus expects unparalleled generosity in giving of time, money, talents, and material possessions. (Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4)
Jesus expects reverence for God's will and commands in the temple/church and in the community. (Matthew 21:11f, John 2:15)
Jesus does not accept half-hearted attempts to secure the blessings of the kingdom for others.
Jesus has high standards and the desire and ability to help us reach them.
Jesus favors the little, the lost, the least, and the dead.
(Matthew 25, Luke 7, Mark 5, John 11)
Jesus does not buy your excuses or your false logic.
(Mark 14:5, Matthew 26:9, John 12:5)
Jesus acknowledges that you are making bad choices and pleads for God to forgive you.
You can fiddle and fidget around in Paul or Leviticus. I see you pulling verses from Hebrews and Micah, like you've got the story down and only need to straighten your edges. The truth is- Jesus is the in flesh revelation of God's eternal desires, eternal Love, eternal Word, eternal Irresistible Grace. That revelation is God's love for you, for the whole creation. That revelation is explicitly political because allowing one's self to yield to the Embrace that Will Not Let You Go is life-changing. Having one's life changed impacts priorities, actions, moods, understanding, vision, mission, and community.
I cannot pretend these things are small or unimportant. God's love for you is too big to let me do that. I lie awake, staring at the ceiling, replaying moments that I could have or should have spoken up, but didn't because I want you to like me, to approve of me, to keep paying me. The truth is- those cannot be my real priorities.
The height and depth and breadth of my baptismal vocation (and yours) is to speak the truth of God's love- its expanse, its demands, its irresistibility. Yes, sometimes it will seem political, but that's because anything that's life-changing is. A fundamental misunderstanding of the word "political" and the reality of our call to respond to God's love is what causes the tension, not that the two things are diametrically opposed.
I love you. I love you. I love you.
GOD LOVES YOU
And I cannot lie about that.