Recently I read an article about sin and its various “categories.” We are well acquainted as Christians with personal sin, but the Church also calls us to consider corporate, communal, “group-propogated” sin, too. In this time of so much political division, it is important to hold up the values of our God in Jesus and to test as St. Paul reminded us couple of weekends ago: “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious…think about these things.” Human government—whether tribal, national, democratic, monarchy, authoritarian, freely elected or installed by military—is capable of both great good and terrible evil. (It is the same with every institution populated by human beings…)
As people of goodwill who care about their neighbors, Christians should be concerned about our social institutions as we are called to care for the poor, feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit the imprisoned—we all know the long list! We are called to be concerned about ourselves and our conduct in our personal lives as well as our communal ones. We pay our taxes (having some skin in the “game) to help finance the state for its many social programs and safety nets, we encourage integrity in government along with economic and social justice in our Communities. We show ourselves to be good citizens by participating and following the laws of our land. Lately so much of our political rhetoric are personal attacks and commentary rather than an analysis based on our beliefs. It is easy to be frustrated and down-hearted when we see violence in place of diplomacy; personal gain and greed in place of the common good we are called to create as Christians in this field of souls.
Our everything: our fortunes and blessings, our effort, our entire life belongs to God. Before Jesus gives his famous answer about the coin, he asks: “Whose image is this (on the coin) and whose inscription?” This question is really about us—whose image do we bear, and where is our allegiance? The reason most unbelievers turn from our faith is because of Christians professing with their lips, but not with their lives and their votes. We all carry the sign of Baptism—but it is in what we do, in what we say, and in what our priorities are—that people know we stand for Christ. When people look at you the question is: whose image, whose imprint upon you do they see?
Read, think, support, and vote your convictions. Don’t get fooled into equating the Kingdom of God with party or confusing Messiah with candidate. We enter this life on earth with nothing and we leave here with nothing. Our lives proclaim our stewardship of what we have been given—our time, talent and treasure—all of our good gifts to be put to good use for the Kingdom and all the children of God. What belongs to God? Everything. Whose imprint is on your hearts and minds? Think about these things, pray on them. Keep singing in your hearts!
Just a Note: This piece of choral music, The Freedom Trilogy” by Paul Halley (another offering by the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Choir, my son Elliott’s group), is a three part piece that utilizes a Kyrie chant, the hymn Amazing Grace, and a joyous African Halleluya song (sung in Sotho, a language spoken in South Africa and Zimbabwe). Please listen all the way through—as all three parts of the piece are layered together in the last section.
(Btw—I have teased my son about all the pots and pans hanging behind his head in his kitchen (he is quite a chef)—and also about the big mustache—I told him he looked a bit like “The Frito Bandito” and he said sadly, that I wasn’t the only or first to say it… 😉 )
Freedom Trilogy: https://youtu.be/Ua4ds2svcd4