Based on Based on Matthew 23:1-14
I’m writing this week’s Meditation on the night when the United States Congress is poised to pass tax legislation that benefits the wealthy and injures those in the middle class and those struggling with poverty. Donald Trump has said that he’s looking forward to signing that legislation as a “Christmas present” to America – the political equivalent of giving children expecting Christmas toys a lump of coal with “this is your toy” written on it instead – fraudulent and mean spirited.
It’s ironic that some of those in Trump’s political “base” who call themselves “evangelical Christians” will cheer that injustice – even though many of them will be among those most hurt by that legislation. I pray for and pity those “evangelical Christians.” Their religion seems to be based on promoting intolerance, hurting others who are not “like them,” defending the “unborn” while overlooking the well-being of the “born” and promoting amoral politicians as long as they support their political agendas – all in the “Name of Jesus.”
Take the time – as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Christ – to reflect on the gift of the Son of God for our salvation and to reject the example of those who talk about Jesus in their churches to make their partisan political points but who don’t really know Jesus.
Walk with the Jesus Who was born to poor earthly parents – parents who struggled to find affordable housing in a crowded Town of Bethlehem and who immigrated to Egypt to protect their child from death and persecution in King Herod’s Israel. Walk with the Jesus Who rejected the intolerance of those who considered themselves to be the “evangelicals” of His day – those who showed unholy contempt for the needy and infirm.
Walk with the Jesus Who outraged “holy folks” by daring to associate with those they considered to be unworthy sinners and to offer them healing and salvation. Walk with the Jesus Who set the example for us by reaching out to and bettering the lives of others in miraculous ways and who was “trolled” and eventually executed by the religious leaders of His day for doing so.
Stand up for Jesus and practice “good religion” that involves advocating for all people, sharing God’s love with all people and demanding that our nation’s laws and policies benefit all people – at the polls on election day and by standing up for truth, justice and righteousness every day – even in the streets if need be.
Those who call themselves “evangelical Christians” today won’t like it and might criticize you, but serve the Lord Jesus anyhow. Do so in the spirit of my ancestors, who were held in slavery by “American Christians” of their day, but still pursued freedom and rejected false Christianity, singing “Everybody talkin’ ‘bout heaven ain’t goin’ there.”