By Vicar Lenny Duncan
As I reflect on the readings for “Christ the King” Sunday a few things have occurred to me that I want to share. For some pastors and preachers this can be a problematic text. There is the usual amount of Matthew drawing lines about who is in and who is out.
Then the text takes it up a notch.
Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
by Rev. Steve Jerbi
What are you waiting for?
There is no way to hear this phrase and not get a sense of urgency. A parent exasperated by a child whose feet have suddenly become encased in concrete preventing them from moving an inch. An expectant partner who knows “this is the one” but their understanding of commitment stops just before sharing a Netflix password. A coach to a player. A buddy at a bar….
…every damn pastor?
Maybe. Or at least close to all of us.
Churches are not known for embracing urgency. We would rather delay a decision than risk offending. We defer maintenance - on both our buildings and our mission - passing the buck to another generation. Statements of welcome get stuck in committees. The appropriate theological responses to political issues are debated or shamed. Meanwhile, lives are being lost.
And this isn’t hyperbole. Literally, lives are being lost. Capitalism kills. Militarized police kill. Inhumane immigration policies kill. The war economy kills. We wish we had the musical ear to fiddle like Nero while Rome burns. More often we murmur behind a swelling organ afraid of our own music.