Text: Job 34:16-19; Amos 7:10-13
12 And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and prophesy there; 13 but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary…
Soon after arriving at Northminster, a person sat down with me and said, “Paul, your sermons are too political.” I was shocked because I go to great lengths not to inject partisan politics into our worship of God, especially in these polarized times where even wearing or not wearing a mask can be interpreted as a political statement. OK, one time I did publicly express shock when retired General Michael Flynn suggested imposing martial law in the U.S. Sorry, but I lived in Central America long enough that even the hint of our becoming a banana republic scared the heebie jeebies out of me. That said, I accepted the criticism and vowed to do better because each of us has a blind spot that needs the corrective feedback of others.
Yet there will always be a tension between God’s Word and application of that Word in day-to-day life. Someone once called politics “applied theology,” and I believe that. Pastors never get in trouble preaching “love your neighbor,” but God help them if they try to apply that principle to a neighbor without papers or work or medical insurance.
Northminster has more diversity than many suspect and when we gather to worship our God we can not and do not leave our cultural and political baggage at the door. As we strive to be the Body of Christ in a divided world, a good place to begin improving our unity is to not attribute evil motivations to those who disagree with us. Only as we begin to heal ourselves will we have the credibility to speak a reconciling word to our hurting world.
Sometimes evil must be met with force and that’s why this weekend we honor those who paid the ultimate price in that struggle, but what better way to honor them than to build a more peaceful, just world on the foundational stones of their sacrifice?