The New Yorker has an article this week about the state of Texas and how its legislature is in many ways a mirror of what is going on all over this country. There is a core of right-wing zealots who want to take over the state. One of their leaders is the Lieutenant Governor who is also the president of the Senate. This man is an outspoken evangelical Christian who looks at all of the political action in the state through the eyes of his particular Christian faith. His faith is composed of a lot of rules that he wants to enforce by law. He is a rich man with resources that are adequate to his needs. His is the kind of politics that we are seeing on a national level. I saw a car with a series of faith related bumper stickers on it that also carried a Trump/Pence sticker. I was certain of the origin of the owner’s politics, it was rooted in the certainty of his faith.
We all have faith related politics. Most of us are not as certain as others. Most of us would not claim that somehow God got Donald Trump or Barack Obama on the ballot. We all know that we have a responsibility for all of this; to not only elect, but also be responsible for those whom we elect and for what they do when they are in office. This is mostly a kind of a tricky problem. We don’t always agree with our elected leaders or with each other, even if we were part of the voting block that elected them. We know that all of us are responsible for what goes on in this country; and one end or the other of the political spectrum is only a part of the answer at any given moment.
Jesus tried to describe our political and moral problems to us in his intricate and helpful parable of the sower. He speaks to a gathered crowd by the sea, sitting in a boat. He talked of the way that God’s love comes to humanity. If God is the sower and God’s love is the seed that is sown, it comes to us in different ways. If we are the ones who receive it as it falls on the path, then it evaporates before we can do much of anything with it. If we receive it as the seed on rocky ground, it lasts as long as it causes us no trouble; but the minute that we are threatened by the love that our God has lavished on us, we shy away. When we receive it as the seed that falls among the thorns, we simply take that love and integrate it with all of our other concerns. Sometimes, we make it seem to be primary as we use it to laud the things that are really on our mind. I think that this is what is going on with the absolute religious community who want us all to think that their political certainties are coming as the voice of God. When we receive God’s love as the seed that fell on fertile ground, we take it and integrate it into ourselves. We learn, as Jesus taught us to love each other with the same zeal that God has lavished on us. We make the world better because of our love.
I had a good friend who was a priest in this diocese named Lynn Chester Edwards who had his own set of health and other problems. In the process of his ministry, he created the Shepherd Wellness Community; a religious organization that was designed to help anyone with problems to get over them and to get back to their communities. He did this because of the love that he felt had been given to him by God. He was sometimes lauded for this work, but mostly he kept it in the background. He was one of the interim priests who served after I retired from Christ Church, North Hills and he made a loving impression on the people of that parish. He died a short time ago and we deeply miss his life and his work.
He is a perfect example of what our Lord means by the seed that falls on fertile ground. Lynn took the love that he had been given and shared it with others. He never got rich, he never attained a high rank, or anything else. He was simply a good priest doing God’s work in a world that needed that work desperately. That is why God loves all of us; so that we can lavish that love on others. There are so many people who have not received that love. It is up to all of us to see that they do. It is really the way to make this world a much better place, so that as we say in the Lord’s Prayer: thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. May God bless us as we do our best to spread that love.