I feel it first in the pit of my stomach. A sickish feeling that I have to make the choice again: how far to go. Like the snow accumulating outside of my office window, the questions pile up: Will people be offended? Am I messing with their spiritual lives? Do most people need more comfort than challenge? Don’t they get enough politics out of church?
And of course, will there be emails to the rector? Will someone leave the service mid-sermon? It’s all happened – more than once. It’s happened before when I preached about the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people. Yet it always gets to me.
Sunday’s Gospel leaves the path open: Jesus asks Simon and Andrew,”What are you looking for?” Good question – for me and for everyone else.
For the third time in our country’s history, the president has been impeached and now will be tried in the Senate. Pretty much every moral issue you can think of will be on the table or lurking nearby. That is, if the proceedings allow an open process – which they may not. On the eve of one of the most important weeks in our country’s recent life, the tone is solemn and fearful. Our highly-polarized country is holding its collective breath, terrified of the outcome for opposing reasons.
All week I have been looking for direction, clues, indicators of where to go with this. My favorite bishop, Stephen Charleston, was surprisingly direct on his daily Facebook post. Then this morning, a nationally-respected clergyman and prolific writer, Brian Maclaren, posts this advice to pastors:
“Remember, to avoid political subjects is itself a political act. It means that you’re choosing silence in the face of injustice, which is another word for complicity.”
It’s not like everyone is breathlessly waiting for my two cents on any this. I know that. Good grief, anyone with access to a computer or a microphone will be weighing in.
But since I have the privilege of a pulpit—and the staggering responsibility that goes with it – it’s a big deal for me. There’s a lot to talk about besides politics – and I’ll do that. And yet ….
So it’s back to work, seeking the “blessed assurance” that all will be well. That’s the name of the gospel song that will sung at the end of the sermon –thankfully not by me!
See you in church. Pray for our country.