No Silent Assent to Injustice

 

No, we cannot give silent assent to injustice.

Many say that President-elect Donald Trump won, in part, because he gained the favor of evangelicals in the United States. Tragically, these evangelicals sold out, bought into a “fake gospel” of racism, bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia and divisiveness. In so doing, they sacrificed the justice and righteousness of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I was reminded of that in a beautiful sermon preached this Christmas Eve by Bishop Thabo Makgoba, head of the Anglican Church. He eloquently served notice with his stirring words spoken to the faithful gathered for midnight mass in Cape Town, South Africa’s George’s Cathedral. He draws on his childhood, the example of Walter Sisulu, and God’s Word to explain why religious leaders have a critical role to play in addressing a nation at war with itself.

He also had a forthright message for President Jacob Zuma who has called on churches to stay out of politics.

“We have rejected President Zuma’s comments and have told him very firmly: ‘NO, Mr President, we will not refrain from engagement in the political terrain. Our people live there, work there, suffer, cry and struggle there. We live there too, and cannot and will not stop commenting or acting on what we see and what, in our opinion, is unjust, corrupt and unacceptable to God’s high standards of sacrificial love.’,

As people of faith, we must also speak out against the destructive policies of President-elect Donald Trump.

“No, Mr President-elect, we cannot and will not stop commenting or acting on what we see and what, in our opinion, is unjust, corrupt and unacceptable to God’s high standards.”

 

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Reborn

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God of every Christmas, you remind us of the sparkling star that was Bethlehem’s holy promise. In these days, we wait again for the birth of your son, our Savior and Mary’s infant.

Like young Mary, we wait for Him in trembling, joyful expectation under the beam of Bethlehem’s star.

Like Joseph, we wait with the protective concern of a father pondering how this magnificent star has so miraculously marked the birthplace of the Child.

We wait for Christ Jesus as the shepherds waited, keeping watch in their fields, filled with fear and with wonder, waiting through the darkness of night, yet amazed that Bethlehem’s star shone on the very place of the Savior’s birth.

Like the angels who hovered among the stars with the message, “Fear not, for I bring you tidings of great joy for all people,” we sing in exultation the words we have long known, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace.”

Like the Magi who traveled so far from the Orient to see the Christ Child following this celestial star, we are filled to overflowing with grateful adoration, and like them we pay homage with priceless gifts.

And what gifts can we bring you, Christ Jesus?

We offer you our hearts of love, and we pray that you will fill them with your compassion.

We offer our hands, that we might do your work in the world, and we pray you will coarsen them with your labor as they reach out to help hurting brothers and sisters.

We offer you our feet made ready to follow your call on the rough, dusty, desolate roads among people who know pain and loss.

Finally, we give you our lives, that they may move at the impulse of your love, embracing those who need a warm embrace, and thereby changing the world.

We thank you, Christ Jesus, remembering your birth among us under Bethlehem’s star, for as you are born again among us in this season, we will be miraculously reborn by your birth.

Amen.

Where Are You Christmas?

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Music can speak for us sometimes. When words fail, music can express what’s in the heart. As Holy days approach, we are not always open to the comfort and joy of the season. For some, health concerns are at the forefront. Others struggle with relationships. Some have financial worries and others feel the sense of hopelessness they see on television news.

We cannot help but grieve for the children and families of Syria. We witness continual gun violence with horror. We feel desperation with immigrants who fear deportation and with young people who live with the fear that violence will cut their lives short. We are anguished by the threat of terrorism in our country and beyond.

And we wonder if Christmas will make a difference. Broken spirits ask the question sung by recording artist, Faith Hill.

Where are you Christmas?
Why can’t I find you?
Why have you gone away?
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me?
Why can’t I hear music play?

My world is changing;
I’m rearranging.
Does that mean Christmas changes too?

Yet, we once again wait for the coming of a Savior, one who always reminds us of peace on earth and good will for every person. Unto us a child is born, and because of His coming, we are reborn. The guiding star of Bethlehem still shines upon us. That doesn’t change, even in the shifting winds that threaten to rearrange our lives.

The song ends with these words:

I feel you Christmas;
I know I’ve found you.
You never fade away.
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us,
Fills each and every heart with love.

May God make it so for each of us.