Over the weekend, there was a March for Life on Friday and a Women’s March on Saturday. The first was generally touted as a Christian gathering. The second was generally reported as a secular event. Although NPR noted that there were Christians at the Women’s March, most secular media did not report both events as acts of religious devotion.
But for many participants, they were indeed acts of religious devotion.
Of all the people I know who gathered in various cities for The Women’s March, most of them were marching because of Jesus.
Jesus didn’t say anything about abortion per se. He said nothing about bearing arms and in fact, he chastised Peter for slicing a Roman slave’s ear the night of his arrest. Jesus didn’t say anything about homosexuality.
Jesus did say this about the hungry, the homeless, the naked, the stranger, and the imprisoned.
Jesus said this about touching the untouchables.
Jesus said this about greed.
(And I could go on, but you get my point.)
I was asked in an interview once if – as a pastor – I would ever participate in a march on the National Mall, and I answered that question with another question: Are you asking me if there’s anything I believe is worth marching for? If so, that would be a big yes. Isn’t there anything you would stand up and march for (or against) as a follower of Jesus?
- My faith in Jesus demands that I speak up about injustice.
- My faith in Jesus demands that I stand with the people Jesus stood with – the ostracized, the untouchables, the sick, the imprisoned.
- My faith in Jesus requires that I not look the other way or say “that’s just the way things are” or “it’s none of my business” when I see or hear hatefulness.
It’s not just my job as a professional minister to notice the world’s suffering or to work to make earth as it is in heaven or to be Jesus’ hands and feet in this life. It’s my responsibility as a baptized member of Jesus’ Church. (And if you are baptized, it’s your responsibility as well.)
I often hear that some preachers are too political. The truth is that – as my RevGalBlogPals family notes – the pastoral is political. Jesus was crucified because he was political. And several of his followers were killed for being political in his likeness – from the first disciples to Bonhoeffer to King to countless others. Each was speaking God’s Truth – and they paid for it with their lives.
Yes, the pastoral is political but Scripture is an equal opportunity offender in terms of Democrats, Republicans, Green Partiers, or Libertarians. This is especially true today in our politically torn country.
I trust that many of those who marched on the anniversary of Roe v Wade were led to march by faith. I trust that many of those who marched on the anniversary of the inauguration were led to march by faith.
I also believe that Jesus would never call someone “an illegal.” Actions might be illegal but people are not.
I believe that Jesus would take in refugees. His own parents were refugees who fled to Egypt when he was a baby.
I believe that Jesus loves people that we are uncomfortable loving. He regularly was a guest in the home of “unclean people” and I wonder if we are as willing to hang out with people we consider to be “unclean.”
The press often doesn’t know what to do with people of faith. Yes, Friday’s march involved many people of faith. But Saturday’s march involved many people of faith as well.
Image source here of women marching in Washington, DC on 1-20-18. PS – Marching is one act of spiritual devotion. Contacting members of Congress, voting, volunteering for non-profits that address human needs, and giving money to those organizations are also acts of spiritual devotion. Pick one to offer today, in faith.