To be presented the Body of Christ by a transwoman created a role reversal I had not anticipated. As a pastor, I am accustomed to being the one serving the elements. Today, I was the one who received. And in that moment, I was changed yet again.
We, too, live in perilous times that will define us for all time. Will history remember us as protectors of ourselves, our institutions and our borders? Or as protectors of God’s children, as people who truly believe O’Flaherty’s motto: “God has no country.”
It seems America’s cultural divide has reached such a bitter impasse that the Golden Rule no longer applies. We’ve short-circuited it by jumping to the conclusion that “others” are not like us enough for this sage wisdom to apply.
Only 8 percent of American churchgoers attend congregations of more than 1,000 in weekly attendance. Yet the churches attended by 8 percent of Christians are held up as the models for every other church to emulate in order not to die.
Christians, Jews and Muslims alike regard Joseph as a hero for taking seriously the vision and making a plan of action. Why can’t we see today’s climate scientists as the same kind of God-ordained forecasters?
Ash Wednesday doesn’t stand alone. It’s a gateway to the season of Lent, which is in itself a way of understanding the whole of the gospel story.
Ministers may not like the present reality of how people communicate, but it is the present reality. If we opt out of social media, we remove our voices from the conversation and fail to be informed about what others are doing and saying.
If the church of Jesus Christ is to be relevant in our mission, if we are to be agents of God’s reconciling love, we’ve got to take a hard look in the mirror. And in God’s grace to muster the courage to say we were wrong.
The next time you think your pastor is being “too political” or “not evangelistic enough” or should “preach the gospel more,” give yourself a simple test: How does what your pastor preaches line up with the words of Jesus?