I believe in an awesome God.
I believe in a God who welcomes us home, no matter what we have done, no matter how far we have traveled, if only we try to return.
I believe in a mighty God who loves with a never ending love, and who calls us to the love over and over again.
I believe in the God who inspired the writing of these words in Romans 13, verses 8 through 13
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”[a] and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently…
Love does no harm to a neighbor so let us behave decently.
Right now in America we are seeing something I never hoped to see, something I never thought I would see.
We are seeing what happens when the leadership of a nation turns away from that welcoming love.
We are seeing the face of evil.
William Shakespeare wrote:
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
On June 14th Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their families at the border by citing a passage from the Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Romans:
“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order,” Sessions said. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”
Later, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders summed up the same idea: “It is very biblical to enforce the law.”
The Devil can quote scripture.
Sessions words twisted and perverted a call to obey the great commandment, the great call of the Almighty to love those around you, and to treat them righteously, into an evil and perverse call for the support of the mortal sin of harming children in the name of nationalism.
The God of my heart, the Christ who came to the poor and the sick, the man who was Love embodied did not call for this.
I say this to Jeff Sessions and to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, you snakes. you vipers.
Above all else we are called to one thing- we are called to love with a deep and abiding love the Lord our God, and in order to do that we have to love the humans who surround us.
Not with a perfect love because we are not perfect. We will get it wrong and screw it up and miss the mark over and over again.
But the man they called Jesus was very clear. In Matthew 25, verses 31-40 he spells it out
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
The kingdom of God welcomes every soul, but you cannot get there by walking in the opposite direction- it isn’t God walking away, it is you.
Throughout history there have been crimes, murder, rape, genocide, done in the name of country and king. Crimes done in the name of the law. Crimes done because of the law.
All evil, not just wrong or bad but morally corrupt and ethically stained.
All glimpses of the great enemy, the great liar Satan, who tells us what we want to hear.
Satan says Put country first.
He says Put the love of money first.
He says Put your own interests first.
He says to hate them because they are not us and you never think to ask what he is telling them and so we destroy each other one bit at a time and we take an eye for an eye until the whole damn world is blind
Satan tells us that what matters is that we are great. What matters is that we are frightening and powerful. What matters is that we reign even if it is in hell.
I’m telling you now that Satan lies.
I’m telling you that there are concentration camps for children being built on our American soil, that we are pulling children from asylum seekers crossing our borders in search of the help promised by our great country.
We are holding those children in cages. We are holding them in tents, in the Texas heat.
We are torturing children. Poor children, immigrant children. Children the color of a man from Nazareth.
We are torturing the least of these, in the name of Caesar. We are torturing them in the name of power and control.
We are torturing them in the name of serving God and I don’t know which way our leaders think that we are heading but if we support the torment of children then I suspect that Hell is straight ahead.
As for me and my house, we will try to serve the Lord, regardless of what that means, and I hope that you will too.
What do you believe in? What values do you claim to be fighting for? Who are you living for?
It doesn’t matter what political party you belong to, because this isn’t about that anymore. The actions of these leaders are not in line with the beliefs of any normal political party.
This is about a struggle for the soul of our nation.
This is about the battle for our own souls.
This is about the endless battle against the forces of evil personified in the acts of human hands and human hearts, and there are no neutral bystanders
So I’m telling you now that no person can serve both God and Caesar. I’m telling you that you have to decide, and it can’t wait anymore.
And I’m asking you to join me in truly accepting that Great Commandment, and the one that follows it. I am asking you to join me in loving God and in loving your neighbor as yourself.
I am asking you day by day to make a commitment to turning away from the work of evil no matter what the source.
I am asking you to care for the least of these, as Jesus asked you to do. amen
I am asking you to feed the hungry, amen.
I am asking you to welcome the stranger in your country, amen.
I am asking you to care for the mentally and physically ill, amen.
I am asking you to comfort the widows and the orphans and the lost and the frightened, amen.
No matter where your political beliefs fall, there is no place for the mental or physical torture of children and so I am asking you to welcome the little children because theirs is the kingdom of Heaven, and the world of Jeff Sessions is indeed the kingdom of Hell.