The church season of Epiphany contrasts our darker nature reflected in the recent words from our president about immigration. As a Christian, true religion is more about the “least of these” than the great, powerful, and rich. There is nothing profane about having privilege. What is offensive to the Gospel is the dehumanization of the vulnerable people in the world–be they from Haiti, El Salvador, or Africa, or even Norway. Our president at this moment appeals to the darkest parts of our human nature. This nature blames the blameless. It shames the shameless. The darkness of this type of power shreds the bonds that even Christians should have for one another. The survival of the fittest is not a biblically solvent idea and even a potentially genocidal policy. People win when we apply a “survival of the weakest.” This is what Jesus Christ modeled for us.What is offensive to the Gospel is the dehumanization of the vulnerable people in the world–be they from Haiti, El Salvador, or Africa, or even Norway. Click To Tweet
The Incarnation brings a child into the world, not a powerful leader.
A scandalous yet orthodox belief is the Incarnation. God entered his creation and now is one with human flesh–Jesus Christ, born a child. Nothing is intimidating and powerful about a newborn baby. This youngster fled, surviving as a time as a refugee in Egypt—as a foreigner! As Herod decreed the death of babies, Joseph took his young family to a place of Gentiles. As we celebrate in the Christian calendar the Epiphany, the first ones to officially worship Christ was the Wisemen—who happened to be foreigners, by the way. The holy family experienced the tumultuous life of the Middle East in ancient times that surely resembled what it feels like to a Syrian or Palestinian or a minority religious sect in Iraq. Vulnerable was the life of young Jesus.
Jesus came to heal and save, not judge. We need to follow suit.
Another significant case is the life of Jesus. His purpose was to not “condemn the world,” but he was sent to “save” or heal. Those two words, by the way, are interchangeable. Jesus was and is identified as a healer of mankind and the world. We are called as Christians to follow the purpose of Christ. While we quote John 3:16, we lose if we forget the next verse. His mission while on earth was not to be a judge. While the zealots—in even his own gang of twelve—wished for the political messiah to ride on a white horse and overthrow evil Rome, Jesus chose a donkey. The mob had blurred vision. With Jesus, there was never a wielded sword, a building of organizational strength, or hoarding of political power. To raise women as equals, and children as valued, Jesus subverted power. This was not the messiah people wanted, so the mob turned quickly and violently on Christ.
The cross proves death’s defeat a model over our addiction to power.
On the cross, Christ suffered as a criminal–unjustly! While people mocked him, “save yourself” he did not lay a hand on any of the abusers present along the steps to Golgotha. We do not know such persecution here in America. In fact, it is often the other way around. We at times judge those “sinners” amongst us as less than human–as less than ones created in the image of God. We hoard power in politics and influence from institutions. Even worse, we use the platforms we build against the least of these—especially, the foreigner. We forget that most of us are products of people who fled poverty, violence, or oppression. To be a Christian is a to be of ones despised and spread across the globe.We hoard power in politics and influence from institutions. Even worse, we use the platforms we build against the least of these—especially, the foreigner. We forget that most of us are products of people who fled poverty, violence, or… Click To Tweet
We choose either the sword or the cross. Power amplifies our darkness. Love empowers our mission. We must condemn those who build walls. Our mission is to break these walls. Liberty lost its luster this past year. As we begin a new one, will we shine once again?