Sisters and brothers in Christ,
Writing about the election last week, theologian Stanley Hauerwas noted “We will be told this is the day the people rule. That sounds like a good idea, but you need to remember that there was a democratic moment in the Gospels and the people asked for Barabbas [rather than Jesus].”
For many people, the past week feels equally defeating. It has brought for many people not just heartbreak over our national election, but a real and justifiable feeling of fear, of betrayal by the larger society and a feeling of devaluation of their worth and existence. Maybe you feel that way. Maybe you feel the opposite.
The truth of the Christian life is that no earthly ruler will bring peace. No form of government, no country is guaranteed to get it right. We are, in many ways, resident aliens. According to the Revelation given to St. John of Patmos, we acclaim, worship and obey not a president, not a king, but a lamb as the means our salvation. The Church ought to, and often does, look very different from it’s surroundings.
We follow Jesus Christ, who was crucified by the ruling authorities and the religious elite of the day, in part because he ate, drank and lived with those at the margins of society, and who unequivocally called his followers to do the same. That is not an optional charge – it lies at the heart of our Baptismal Covenant – to seek and serve Christ in all people, to love our neighbors as ourselves, to strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being. That, and possibly much more, but certainly no less is our calling as followers, as the Body of Christ.
Regardless of who sits in the oval office on January 21, 2017, I believe that we are called to follow Christ by living out our Baptismal Covenant, even when — especially when doing so is unpopular, or, in extreme cases, even in contravention of secular authority.
We will need to talk together in the days and weeks ahead about being the part of the Body of Christ and keeping our Baptismal Covenant means for us now, in this time. I believe that it is going to look different in the coming weeks, months, and years. If you have thoughts, or concerns, or you just want to vent, I am available; come find me and let us talk together.
For now, first and foremost I urge you to pray. Pray for those who are afraid that they will now be targets of hate or violence; that they may be protected and feel the love of God in their lives. Pray for this country, that we can live up to the ideals enshrined in our founding documents. Pray for the President-elect – regardless of how you voted – that God may turn his heart to love justice, to do kindness and to walk humbly with God who values the life and dignity of every person. Finally pray for the church, that we might be sent out to do the work that we have been given to do.
As I have wrestled with my own feelings about the events of last week, this prayer has been coalescing in my mind. I offer it to you in the hopes that it might be helpful to you as we continue to listen to pray and to to the work of the Gospel.
O God, you are the creator and maker of all things, the craftsman who hung the stars and formed the deeps. Take my anger, Lord, and forge it into resolve, take my sadness, O God, and like seeds, grow it into compassion. shatter my fear, Sovereign maker, and glaze it into solidarity with all my brothers and sisters. Take my joys O Lord, and set them like jewels that I may see and remember your goodness. Take my life and consecrate it, that I may at last, fit as a beloved creation into that kingdom where with Jesus Christ and the holy spirit, you live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.
Fr. Jed Fox, Rector
The Rev. Jedediah (Jed) Fox was born and raised in Helena, Montana. He grew up attending St. Peter’s Cathedral in Helena. It was there, during college, that he discerned a call to the priesthood.
After graduating from Carroll College in Helena, Jed and his wife, Mary Beth Jäger, moved to New York City so that Jed could attend the General Theological Seminary. Since his graduation from seminary in 2009 through the end of 2014, Fr. Jed had been the curate and assistant to the rector of the Church of St. Michael and St. George in St. Louis, Missouri. He became rector of Church of the Redeemer on January 1, 2015.
You may contact Fr. Jed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Church of the Redeemer
Church of the Redeemer is at 6210 Northeast 181st Street in Kenmore, Washington. We are a short distance north of Bothell Way, near the Burke-Gilman Trail. The entrance looks like a gravel driveway. The campus is larger on the inside than it is on the outside.
The Episcopal Church welcomes you.