"When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately." Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven."But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls."
In the words of Rev. William Barber, our task in this election was to
“shock this nation with the power of love. We must shock this nation with the power of mercy. We must shock this nation and fight for justice for all. We can’t give up on the heart of our democracy, not now, not ever!”
They are pathetic, but make no mistake: They are afraid.
And, let me say this: I am planning to attend two different churches on Sunday: One at 8 AM and one at 10 AM. If the Gospel is not preached, expect to see me rise from my seat and leave.A bold, courageous, prophetic sermon which comes authentically from the very middle of the middle of a pastor's heart is a work of perfect love.
I'll be quiet. God knows, I won't make a fuss - I am Anglican, after all - but rest assured, I will not stay. And, I probably won't be back any time soon.
Others may not be so bold, but don't be surprised to see a dip in church attendance after that.
You'll be able to find me in those rare places where the Gospel IS preached and lived. Authentically. Boldly. Some of them are even Episcopal churches.
I will leave you with these words to consider. My friend and colleague Rev Aaron Payson, lead minister at the United Universalist Church of Worcester, MA, sent this to his congregation yesterday.
The Work of Citizenship
By Rev. Aaron Payson
(with appreciation for Howard Thurman’s “The Work of Christmas”)
When the last campaign ad has aired;
When polling stations are closed and the count has been certified;
When pundits and politicians have turned in for the night
And pollsters and political operatives are turning their thoughts to the next big race
The work of citizenship remains:
To care more for the marginalized than for profit margins
To be mindful that quality education is far less expensive than mass incarceration
To insist that military intervention is a last resort,
Not the preemptive prerogative of the powerful
In short, to know that our true wealth is the welfare of all beings and the planet that we all call home.I know it says, "citizenship" but if ever there was a clearer vocational call to the church - the Citizens of the Realm of God, the "New Jerusalem" - I never heard it.
This is an amazing time to be a Christian. It's an even more incredible time to have the privilege of ordination and take the responsibility of our ordination vows seriously.
Yes, I'm sad I'm not able to preach this particular Sunday. I sound like I'm chomping at the bit because I am and I know it.
So, g'won. For God's sake: PREACH! In the pulpit and with your lives.
This is one of those times when you do need words, but they need to flow from your life and into the work of your ministry and inspire the lives and work and ministry of others.
We've got a lot of work to do. Two years to take back the legislative branches of government and four years to take back the presidency.
Let's get busy, church!