It is no doubt that we are living in crazy times.
It has been a week since the "Capitol Riot of 2021," and my heart is still broken. My heart is broken for our country. My heart is broken for our world. But most importantly, my heart is broken for our souls.
When it comes to my pastoral calling, I don't do a lot of "politicking" in the sense of letting too many people know my political preferences. Sure, I'll have a conversation if questioned, or maybe I'll let you in to my preferences a little bit with a comment here or there, but I believe that publicizing my political preferences would do more harm than good, and the First Wesleyan "Commandment" is "Do No Harm." (Yes...it's ok to laugh at the fact that I said Wesleyan Commandment)
So, I find it absolutely unnecessary to talk anymore at this point about American Politics and solely on the Politics of God.
Being United Methodist (much like any of our mainline denominations out there, and yes...Non-denominational is a denomination), there are moments when I just half to give myself one of those face-palms. There is an old joke I heard a long time ago that says, "wherever two or more Methodists are gathered, there is a potluck and an argument." At least we're consistent.
But the reality is, wherever two or more people are gathered, there is politics. There is not one of us that can agree on 100% of everything. Even if we agree on the theological standards of the church, we will disagree on the color of the carpet. It's in our nature to disagree because, ultimately, due to the consequences of sin, there is a chasm between each and every one of us. No matter what we do to try to reconcile differences between us, there is no way we can cover that chasm without divine help.
This is where Jesus comes in.
My staff here at LWM have already heard me talk about this a little bit, but I have been watching "The Chosen," which is a Biblically based series on the life of Jesus through the eyes of the disciples. I specifically say "Biblically Based" because it is not like "The Gospel According to John" or any of the other Gospel films of the past. It doesn't follow along 100% with the Gospels. There is a little bit of creative license, but what I love about the series is the truth that you find within each episode remains unblemished.
What is standing out to me the most is the relational aspect of Jesus. It's almost like, as I am watching, I am seeing Jesus for the first time as a real human being. Sure, I have read Scriptures, I have read the stories, but there is an element of The Chosen that just makes Jesus and his relationship with his Disciples real.
But what's more, is I think the portrayal of Peter is by far one of the best I have ever encountered. He is rough and tumble, he is independent and he wants to do everything in his power to protect Jesus. There are multiple times when Jesus looks at Peter and you can just see the word's "STOP IT" in his eyes without him even saying a word.
I love Peter's passion for protecting Jesus, and I know Jesus loves it too. But here's the deal, Jesus doesn't need Peter's protection. Jesus doesn't need Peter to stand up for him.
You know why?
Because Jesus is God.
I think we often forget this truth about Jesus. Sure, we may say it with our lips, but do we really know what it means that Jesus is God? I think in our human minds it is difficult, if not impossible to understand the power of that statement.
So when we create Jesus in our own image, we take the God out of him. We make him just like us. A person who thinks just like we do, or stands up for the things we stand up for, or that he waives the flags that we waive. But what Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, tells us is: Peter (Bryan), I love you, but you're wrong. Follow me, and me only.
Yes, this week I have been anxious about the future of our country, I have been thinking a lot about it, as I am sure you have. But, we still have a job to do. We still have work to be done. We still have disciples to make, and we still have a Jesus...God With us...to follow.
Let us pray.
God, we repent. Even when our love fails, your love remains steadfast. When we live into our brokenness, you remind us that we do not have to remain broken; you remind us that we are your children and that your desire is to be Emmanuel...With us! Help us to focus on your presence, help us to follow you, and you alone. Help us to throw down our idols at the foot of your cross and NEVER pick them up again.
In the strong name of Jesus we pray.
Growing up in the United Methodist Church, I have always had a passion for ministry. Now, I have been called to serve the people of Llano at an awesome place called Lutie Watkins Memorial!