Saturday, February 24, 2018

Year B, Lent 2, Mark 8:31-38, Today is a good day to die.

Peace Lutheran Church, Otis Orchards, WA

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.  Amen
Our nation is still reeling after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, and trying to deal with the information as it comes out.
One of the most disturbing pieces of news to come out this last week, was that there was a uniformed, armed, police officer on duty at the school, but when the shooting broke out, he chose to take a defensive position outside of the school where he remained.
The officer, Scot Peterson, was forced to resign and will retire.  But not without becoming a symbol of everything that went wrong there.
President Donald Trump weighed in on the matter, saying during a White House news conference that Scot Peterson "doesn't love the children, probably doesn't know the children."
I personally had two reactions:
1.       One, giving a man a badge and a gun doesn’t make him a hero;
2.       And, I imagined, that our finest and best people probably don’t sign up to be school cops.
And then there is the other side to the story.
Perhaps, if we knew what was going on in the officer’s head at the time, we’d be more gracious toward him.
It would not be unheard of in that situation, to call for, and wait for, reinforcements to arrive before confronting the shooter.
But even if we try to explain the officer’s actions in the kindest possible way, there remains a simple fact that while the shooter was inside killing one person after another, this officer was outside, and chose not to go in and defend the students and staff he was hired to protect.
Did he love them?
That’s the question Trump raised.
Did he love them?
The most important moment in his life came, and he came up short. 
Alright, so what is the measure of love in such a situation?
Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach, was killed when he threw himself in front of students to protect them from oncoming bullets. Feis, 37, suffered a gunshot wound and died after he was rushed into surgery. 
"He died the same way he lived -- he put himself second," a spokeswoman said, "He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero."
He was not the only teacher to be a hero.
Others, such as Scott Beigel, a geography teacher, was killed as he tried to usher students back into his classroom when the shooting broke out.
Jesus said:  "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
Also, in today’s Gospel lesson, we read:  “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”
Another quote, attributed either to Crazy Horse, or another Oglala Chief, Low Dog, on the day of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, is:
“Today is a good day to die.”

“Today is a good day to die.”
Whether one is an Oglala chief, or an army soldier, a law enforcement officer, or a teacher, these are the words of a hero.
Today is a good day to die.
Underlying those words is the conviction that there are some things in life worth dying for.
Protecting the one’s we love is one of those things.

Scot Peterson will be judged harshly by many critics.
It was reported, that he had previously received glowing reviews for his service, and is eligible for retirement.
But everything that he did with his life up to that point will be forgotten, because in the heat of the moment he did NOT say “Today is a good day to die” and put his life on the line.
Would we?
That’s a tough question.
When Devin Kelly opened fire and killed 26 people in that rural church in Texas last year, I wondered what I would do.
If I saw a gunman walking up that hallway into our sanctuary, would I charge him, hoping to prevent him from shooting YOU, even if it meant dying myself?
Or would I thank God that I’m the closest one to the emergency exit, right there, and run?
I’ve never been faced with that choice.
I have had a number of situations where I’ve tried to help women in abusive relationships break free.
That’s risky business.
I tried to dismiss the danger, but the truth is that both the woman’s life and the life of those who try to help her are most at risk at that moment that they try to leave.
“Today is a good day to die.”
Is freeing a woman from an abusive relationship worth dying for?
I was too young to serve in Vietnam.  I’ve always been a bit thankful for that.
During the sixties, when I was growing up I wondered if I would be willing to put my life on the line for my country and die in a Southeast Asia jungle.
Had I been drafted, I probably would have gone, and I might have died, but the truth is, I’ll never know because I was spared that choice.
Thankfully, throughout our family’s life we’ve lived in communities where we were safe.
There have never been any threats against my family.
I’ve never had to decide whether I’d die for the sake of my family.
Would I?
The bottom line is that in such critical moments we are confronted with a choice, would we rather die or grieve?
That, my friends, is the choice that Jesus had to make.
Would he rather die, or grieve?
I love the song from Jesus Christ Superstar where Jesus faces his choice, and wrestles with it in the Garden of Gethsemane:
“I only want to say
If there is a way
Take this cup away from me
For I don't want to taste its poison
Feel it burn me,
I have changed I'm not as sure
As when we started
Then I was inspired
Now I'm sad and tired
Listen surely I've exceeded
Tried for three years
Seems like thirty
Could you ask as much
From any other man?”
The songs final words are:
“Then I was inspired
Now I'm sad and tired
After all I've tried for three years
Seems like ninety
Why then am I scared
To finish what I started
What you started
I didn't start it
God thy will is hard
But you hold every card
I will drink your cup of poison
Nail me to your cross and break me
Bleed me, beat me
Kill me, take me now
Before I change my mind”
Even for Jesus, the choice was not easy.
He sweat drops of blood, the Bible says.
And yet the love he had for us, led him to lay down his life that we might live.
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends.”
Actually, there is a greater love than that.
It is to be willing to lay down one’s life even for one’s enemies.
And isn’t that what Jesus did.
He gave his life to save the very people whose sins had nailed him to the cross.
It was my sinfulness that put him there, and my sins that were forgiven there.
“Today is a good day to die.”
Finally, those were Jesus’ words, a hero’s words, that led him to take up his cross and die for us.
The alternative was for him to do nothing and grieve our deaths instead.
Aaron Fies shielded his students from the gunman’s bullets, giving his life for them.
I’d like to know what those students are thinking, who stood behind him that day.
What does it mean to them, that their lives were saved by the selfless love of this man.
And what will they do with their lives knowing that because he died, they are alive.
Isn’t that the question for us as well.
How will we live our lives, knowing that we live because Christ died?
One of the responses of the survivors of that  shooting in Parkland is to try and do something to change the world we live in so that it never happens again.  I hope they succeed.
“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Jesus died, that we might live, and that we might love.
Love one another as Christ first loved us.
Love wins, in the end.
Love, not hate, wins.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Year B, Lent 1, Genesis 9:8-17, God’s Repentance

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.  Amen
"I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.”
And then God put a rainbow in the sky, as a sign of this covenant that he made with Noah, and all of us who would come after.
“The inclination of the human heart is evil from youth.”
But God, recognizing that you can’t simply destroy evil people, without destroying all people, repented, and promised that despite our sinfulness, we would be allowed to carry on.
It’s interesting to me, that as we begin our Lenten journey, a time that is to be for us a time of repentance, the first scripture passage we read is about God’s own repentance.  God would never again respond to evil, with evil.
Implied in that, is that if God, himself, can humble himself to repent of his actions, we too ought to be able to swallow our pride and turn from our evil ways.
The inclination of the human heart is evil from youth.
Our nation is heartbroken once again this week.
In Parkland, Florida, 17 people including three teachers and 14 students were gunned down at the high school.
This is a pattern we have seen time and time again.
Every time it happens the same scenario unfolds:
  • ·         We are horrified.
  • ·         We identify the victims, the heroes, the shooter.
  • ·         People across the nation offer their thoughts and prayers.
  • ·         A debate ensues up about what to do.
  •            Some people will call for gun control, others will send in contributions to the NRA to make sure there is no gun control legislation passed.
  • ·         Our lawmakers, divided by their political differences, can’t do anything.
  • ·         Then the news cycle runs its course, we turn our attention to other things, and put the tragedy out of our mind.
  • ·         And then life goes on, kids go to school, people go to work, and nothing changes.
  • ·         And then, a few months later the same thing happens again.

About a hundred children die each month in our country from gunshot wounds, many more are injured.
One response is that we should get rid of guns.
Another response is that we should have more guns, you know, have armed guards in all our schools.
Because the divide is so deep, nothing happens.
Personally, I’ve enjoyed owning a gun.  For a number of years I provided all our family’s meat by hunting and fishing.
But for me, gun ownership came to an end when my doctor, after diagnosing me with severe depression, instructed me to remove all the firearms from my home.  He cited a statistic, namely that you are far more likely to die of a self inflicted gunshot wound if you actually have a gun.  So, I got rid of the guns because I didn’t want to die.
My father had a parishioner, a farmer, who kept a pistol in his pickup.  One day his five year old got a hold of the pistol, and shot himself straight through the head.  Amazingly, he survived.
Its experiences like these that lead me to advocate for what I call ‘responsible gun ownership’.
I believe that we should treat guns like we treat cars and driving.
·         They should be titled.
·         They require a license to use.
·         Before one can purchase a gun you must be trained in its safe operation.
·         And, I believe, that people should have to carry liability insurance for their weapons.
·         I believe that if you are going to own guns, then you are responsible for their safe storage and use.
Whether that’s the right answer, I do not know.
Most importantly, I believe that we simply can’t ignore the problem, and do nothing.  Human life is too valuable.
Two facts to consider:
1.       More people have died from gun related deaths in the United States since 1968, when we began keeping statistics, than have died in all of our nation’s wars, combined.
2.       More people die from gun related deaths than die from drunk driving accidents each year.

"I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.”
God repented.
And God calls all of us to live lives of repentance.
One more thing I’ll share about this cycle of violence that has a grip on our country.
Our law enforcement officers will not be outgunned.
I work with people at the cabinet shop who routinely drive to work with loaded pistols in their possession. 
What happens then, when so many drivers are armed, is that the police must be prepared at all times to respond to that threat.
Officers must wear bullet proof vests.
And they are prepared to defend themselves even during a routine traffic stop. 
Too many officers have been killed.  And officers sometimes shoot innocent people as a result.
When we were growing up, nobody had even heard of a SWAT team.  Now, law enforcement across the nation has them.
The more violent we become as a nation, the more heavy handed our law enforcement agencies will be. 
"I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.”
Again, God, himself, can humble himself to repent of his actions, we too ought to be able to swallow our pride and turn from our evil ways.
At the most basic level, the repentance that is needed in our country is to turn from a culture of violence, into one that is dedicated to the promotion of life.
Life is sacred.
Life is holy.
Life is of God.
Moses exhorted his people:
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”
That is the choice.
Life or death.
It affects everything we do, and how we treat each other, from the cradle to the grave.
It affects how we treat our unborn children.
How we treat our children.
It impacts how we treat one another.
And how we care for the sick and the elderly.
Jesus says:
" 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. ' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it:'You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Jesus is calling us to choose life, and all that life requires.
God repented, and gave us a promise symbolized by the rainbow in the sky.
God’s promise is that he would always and forever choose life, over death.
God’s promise led Jesus to offer his life, for us, on the cross.
God’s promise is that he will continue to forgive us, even as we continue to live out the evil inclinations that are on our heart from our youth.
God’s promise is that life, not death, will have the final word.
That’s what repentance meant for God.
What does repentance mean for us?
I once had a colleague in ministry, who came to our text study in Sandpoint, and who was a Quaker.
I admire them, and other Christians like them, who have made it a central tenant of their faith to choose life over death, love over violence, and peace.
Most of all, what I learned from her was that there was another way.
For Christians, one response to the evil in the world is to simply resolve to wait.
God promises that one day "They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain.”
But we can also do something to improve our situation in this life, now.
We can choose life.
We can choose to love.
We can repent of the evil inclinations that are in each of our hearts, and instead, live as Jesus lived.
All that is possible, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and  yes, all that will make a difference.
A big difference.
But it begins with our own repentance.
And then we trust in the Lord our God and his grace to lead us and guide us into the way of peace.
This is not impossible.
Other countries do not suffer from violence the way we do.
But if we don’t want to die violently, if we don’t want our children to die violently, then each of us needs to examine the way we live.
For me, though I loved my Winchester Model 88, choosing life meant giving up a gun, that because of my depression, was a threat.
That won’t be everyone’s choice.  And that’s not my point.
My point is simply this, that when confronted with the evil in the world, each of us will have a choice.
We should choose life, not death. 
And that choice affects how we treat one another.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Year B, Transfiguration Sunday, Mark 9.2-9

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.  Amen
There is a Light that shines in the darkness that the darkness cannot overcome, the radiant glory that comes from the face of God.
Shekinah is the word used to describe it.
Moses came into the glory of God, first at the burning bush.  There he heard God speak as God called him to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land.  The bush appeared to be ablaze, yet the fire did not consume it.  It was God’s glory.  The shekinah.
Throughout his career, Moses had the rare opportunity to enter into the presence of God, on the Mountain, and more often, in the Tabernacle, and each time there was this glorious light, almost too bright for human eyes.
When Moses would come down from the Mountain, or out of the tabernacle, his face glowed, a reflection of that divine glory, so much so he had to wear a veil to shield the people from the light.
It is this same glory that Jesus entered into in today’s Gospel lesson.
He was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.
That glory gave witness to the presence of God, both with and in Jesus.
And then, as he had from the burning bush, God spoke.
“This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”
These words, spoken by God, are similar to the Words spoken at Jesus’ baptism:  "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."
The disciples were terrified.
There is some light that is simply too bright for our human eyes. 
We squint.  We cover our eyes.  We look away.
But then, when we dare, we open our eyes again, and see only Jesus.
In the Gospel of Mark, there is a journey that takes place, and the Transfiguration of Jesus on the Mountain marks a turning point.
Jesus was in the region of Caesarea Philippi.
Caesarea Philippi was about twenty five miles north of the Sea of Galilee, near Mount Herman, it was the northern most point that Jesus had traveled to during his ministry around Galilee.
There Peter had declared that Jesus was the Messiah.
And there, Jesus had begun to teach the disciples that the that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
And then on the Mountain, the disciples saw the glory of God, that radiant heavenly light, transform Jesus before their eyes, and they heard the voice of God telling them to listen to Jesus.
What happens then is that Jesus fixed his eyes on Jerusalem, and began the journey that would lead him to the cross.
There in Jerusalem, he would die, and he would be raised from the dead and ascend into heaven, to once again be clothed in the glory of God.
This journey, begins in Baptism, and ends at the empty tomb.
And to us, Jesus simply says:  “Follow me.”

One of my favorite Garth Brooks songs is “The Dance”.
Garth sings:
Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared 'neath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance
 I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance
The question within these lyrics is if we knew, the way it all would end, the way it all would go, would we dare to dance the dance?

I think of this song today, because as we baptize Ryker in a few moments, we will mark the beginning of a journey, the journey of life, but more specifically, the journey of life in Christ.
On such a day, “For a moment all the world was right.”
Here you are, in the midst of a community of faith, surrounded by your family, with a precious child of God, Ryker.
And this is the thing.
Whenever we look into the face of our children, and imagine the life they will live, we imagine and hope for only the best.
We do not know what the dance of life will bring their way. 
It just feels right, today.
But if the experience of others, even our own experience, is any indication, back deep within our own mind we know that life will not be all joy and happiness.
There will be triumphs and tragedies.
There will be love found, and lost.
There will be great successes, and humbling failures.
If we knew what is to come, would we dare to dance the dance?  Would we be so ready to invite Ryker to enter into this dance?
The life of faith is a dance that doesn’t just remain on the mountain top.
The disciples wanted to stay there; Peter even offered to build dwelling places.
But Jesus set his eyes on Jerusalem.
He spoke of suffering, dying, and rising again.
In Romans, Paul writes:
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
We’d prefer that our baptisms might always be surrounded by the radiant light of God, mountain top experiences of hope and joy.
Wouldn’t it be great if baptism was a promise, an assurance that life would be good, that there would be no suffering, that we’d be protected from all evil?
If it were so, I can guarantee you that Ryker would not be the only one being baptized today.
The truth is that we baptize, not because baptism spares our children from the possibility of experiencing suffering and loss in their lives, but precisely because over the course of their life that’s exactly what they will, in one way or another, experience.
Some of this suffering is just the nature of life.
And some of this suffering may be experienced because we bear the name of Christ.
“Follow me.”  Jesus said, and he set his eyes on Jerusalem and the cross.
Would you go with Jesus on that journey?
Would you wish Ryker go with Jesus on that journey?
In some ways, you have no choice.  That Ryker was born at all means that he will experience joy and suffering, good times and bad, triumphs and failures, and in short, all that life has to offer.
That’s just life.
But the choice to live life as a baptized child of God is a choice to dance the dance with a promise ringing in our ears.
You are my child.
I love you.
And with you, I am well pleased.
These are God’s words that were spoken first to Jesus, and then to us in baptism.
When we feel isolated and alone, we have the promise that we are God’s children, that he is our Father.
When we feel unlovable, overcome with shame, we are reminded that we are beloved of God.
And when our failures and the accompanying guilt overcome us, we are assured that God himself is pleased with us.
And most importantly, we live in the promise that even though we will all one day die, with Christ we will be raised.
And on that day, all the world will be right again.
On that day, we will be glad that we dared to dance the dance.
And on that day, the light of Christ will once again shine a brilliant heavenly white.
May this peace that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.


Saturday, February 3, 2018

Year B, Epiphany 5, Isaiah 40.21-31, Have you not known? Have you not heard?

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.  Amen
We are blessed to be both grandparents, and through our daughter in law, now great grandparents.
Our great grandson was over for dinner last year, getting to know us, and one of the things that stood out for him was that we prayed before the meal.
One of the next evenings, at home, he asked his parents to hold hands and pray as we had, and then proceeded:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag. . .”
It was one of the few things he knew by memory, so it made sense to him.  Obviously, we all got a kick out of it. 
Today is Super Bowl Sunday and one of the questions hanging over the NFL regards an issue that has been part of the public discourse for the last couple of years.  Will some players take a knee during the national anthem in order to draw attention to matters of justice and equality in our country?
If some do, there will be many in our country who will be critical of them for showing disrespect to our flag and our country, and others that will applaud them for using their position as a stage to take a stand for something that they believe deeply in. 
Regardless what your feelings are on this matter, it has lifted up the various symbols of our democracy and created quite a conversation.
The National Anthem.
The flag.
The Pledge of Allegiance.
In its original form it read:
"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
In 1923, the words, "the Flag of the United States of America" were added. At this time it read:
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words "under God," creating the 31-word pledge we say today.  Today it reads:
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."  (from
For me the most important words in the pledge, are the last words added, “under God”, and without them I could not say the pledge. 
You see, as Christians, or people of faith throughout the world, our allegiance is first and foremost to God, and not to any of the countries in which we might live.
We have another “pledge of allegiance”.
For the Jewish people that pledge, the Shema, is:
“Hear O’ Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.”
Muslims likewise have a pledge, the shahada, or witness:
"There is no god but God; Muhammad is the messenger of God"
And finally, as Christians we have a pledge, simple and straightforward:
“Jesus is Lord.”
Our pledge of allegiance as Christians was formulated very specifically as a rebuttal to the pledge of allegiance in their day to the Roman Empire.
In the Roman Empire, people were expected to make the pledge of allegiance to the Roman Empire with the words:  “Caesar is Lord.”
The Christians would not, instead affirming their faith that “Jesus is Lord.”  And understood in their confession that “Jesus is Lord” was the very strong belief that “Caesar was NOT Lord.”
This was a really big deal.  A really big deal.
Today, when football players take a knee during the national anthem, those who take offense at their stance have often chose to criticize them, and in some cases, simply refuse to watch football. 
When the first Christians refused to say the pledge to the Roman Empire, “Caesar is Lord”, but instead declared “Jesus is Lord”, they were executed.
It was a really big deal.
The Church also had to deal with the question of what to do with Christians who had caved in, and rather than risk their life, just said “Caesar is Lord.”
Apostasy is what it was called, when Christians failed to make the confession “Jesus is Lord” in order to save their own skin.
Can they be forgiven was the question.

Our lesson today from Isaiah states:
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in; who brings princes to naught, and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.”
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The rulers of the earth are nothing when compared to our God.
“Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows upon them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One.”
Think about this for a moment.
Think about how absurd it is that we concern ourselves with earthly rulers when our God, who alone is sovereign, reigns.
Earthly rulers rise and fall in the blinking of an eye.
God has reigned throughout all of eternity.
I mean really, earthly politics are like shifting sand.
One ruler will issue a decree, an “executive order”, but before the dust has even settled on it, the next ruler will issue another decree.
Compare this with the decrees of God, that the Bible tells us stand for all eternity.
To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One.”
“Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows upon them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.
This image really resonates with me after spending time in Eastern Montana.
We tried to garden there.  There were numerous challenges.
We had a garden plot that we tilled.  Our organist came by one day when we were working in the garden and heard that we needed some manure, and immediately went home, got her husband, and went out to their ranch and loaded up two truckloads of incredibly rich, well seasoned manure from their stock yard. 
With it, we tilled the soil, and planted our garden.
The seeds took root, and the plants shot up.
Everything looked great until the summer wore on.
And then in August, as often happens in Eastern Montana, we had a heat wave.
100 degree temperatures.  And the wind blew.
100 degrees, dry arid heat, and a wind of thirty miles an hour.
The plants all whithered.  Even if you watered them constantly, there is no way under those circumstances for them to replenish the moisture they were losing.
So it is with the rulers of the earth.
God alone endures from age to age.

There is a conversation I’d love to have in the Church.
Too often we concern ourselves with whether one party or another, one ruler or another, is better.
And we never agree. 
The truth is, none of them are that hot.
That’s why Isaiah declares that God “brings princes to naught, and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.”
I don’t want to talk about whether Democrats or Republicans have the best answers, and certainly not whether one party or the other is more Christian.
The conversation I’d like to have is what it means to confess that Jesus is Lord, and God is the Ruler of the Universe.
You see, politics should not divide the Church, because God is neither Republican nor Democrat.
With one mind, one faith, and one hope, we should pursue to the best of our ability to understand the will of God and seek to conform our lives and the land we live in to his will.
That’s what it means to say “Jesus is Lord”, or “the Lord is our God”, or there “is no god, but God”.
When we confess that God created the heavens and the earth, what does that mean for our daily lives and how we care for this world God created?
When we confess that every human being is created in the image of God how does that affect the way we treat one another?
When we confess that God is the author and giver of Life itself, what does that mean with respect to our honoring the sanctity of all life?
What does it mean for us that Jesus came to us, declaring that the Kingdom of God is at hand?
These are the questions that we should seek to answer, not as Democrats or Republicans, not as Americans or Russians, not as Christians, Jews, or Muslims, or any other faith, but rather as people of God of every time and place.
The ultimate question is simply this:  “What does it mean that there is a God?”
To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One.”
The obvious answer to this is that no one is equal to the God we confess as Lord and Ruler of All.
What does that mean for our lives?
It either means everything, or nothing at all.