My daughter Merkin says I've gone soft. She can see it on my face when I want to say more but hold back. At my meeting with the DCOM, one of them said I'm not being truthful, I'm not preaching the word of God. I'm telling you that that really hurt--not just my ego but my vision of who I am as a preacher as well.
This morning I retold the story of Esther to the congregation. The sermon title was Holy Disobedience and I had planned on talking about how God calls us to be a part of upsetting the status quo when it is unjust.
I wanted to say that in our world 1/3 of the population is concerned with an epidemic of obesity and the other 2/3 is dying from starvation and malnutrition. In the United States, a small percentage of people have health insurance that they can actually afford to use. Many others have insurance but their deductibles and payments are so high that they still can't afford to use it. Many others, most of which are probably children, have no health insurance at all and do not, cannot go to the doctor until a problem has reached crisis level. We have some huge problems.
As Christians we proclaim to be on the side of God, that we are interested in doing God's work, in following Jesus the Christ. Jesus preached that God would overturn the status quo--that the hungry would be fed, those that mourn would be comforted, etc. On the flip side, those who are not hungry would experience hunger, those who laugh will experience sadness, etc. Our status quo is in dire need of change.
There's a lot of talk about the USA being a Christian nation. If we are to be a Christian nation, then shouldn't we be taking care of the "least", the hungry, the poor, those who mourn? Shouldn't we at the very least provide healthcare for all of God's people, which means all of us because we are all the children of God? I would be thrilled to be part of that Christian nation.
Esther risked her life for the sake of her people. We do not even risk our money for the sake of taking care of our people. Esther made a potentially deadly sacrifice, while we risk nothing. We are not a theocracy, we are not a Christian nation. Yet, if we Christians stood together, ready to sacrifice to at the least provide healthcare for all people in the United States, we might begin to look like a Christian nation some profess that we are. Do we dare stand for Christianity rather than democracy? Do we choose to be Christians or Americans? Is there room for both?
I don't quite have the words right...yet. I'm working on it because they must be said. I think I've earned their trust, I hope that they will be able to hear me when the words are finally right.