Today’s the inauguration …have you ever watched it? Such fanfare….a lot of pomp and circumstance.
I might say that our gospel today is kind of Jesus’ inauguration. He calls his first 12 disciples and he does it with great fanfare for the time. He goes up the mountain to do it—where everyone can see him.
Mountains are awesome, huh? This summer I climbed into the mountains in Slovakia and it was amazing. I have to say two things happened to me on the mountain…I felt small…because of the awe-inspiring views. And I felt energized and powerful. If I could climb this mountain—well, then, what else could I accomplish? Mountaintop experiences are great, no? Maybe you’ve had one? An immersion trip, a retreat, local service experiences, deep prayer.
And as great as those are….you actually have to come off of the mountain at some point! And we hope that you now live each day as someone changed by that experience of what God offered to you….to come down into the real-life, day to day, nitty gritty of the hard work that must now be done—to be the hands and the feet of Jesus.
And I might suggest, that our President needs to come off of the mountain as well! I’m sure that being elected President and today’s ceremony are mountaintop experiences. But governing is not a mountaintop experience, say most who have done it. Governing is choosing. Governing is making deals and being disappointed sometimes in what you had to compromise. Governing is listening to constituents and experts and being moved and persuaded by their stories to the point that you use your power to do something about that for the betterment of society. And Governing is most of all, humbling—because you realize that you can’t accomplish everything that you want to do.
So President Trump needs our prayers but he also needs our voices and our passion. And when we provide that we also should realize that we are responding to God’s call. On the mountain God reminds us that we are not powerless, and that no matter who might be in our elected positions of power, it is ultimately up to each of us, to respond to the call to be the body Christ for others in the world. To respond with love to those who many deem too hard to love: the poor, for the immigrant, for the unborn and its mother, for our LGBT community. All those who simply need us to be God’s face for them. And no President can ever change that.
And we can’t let our fear get in the way….My colleague, Lu Firestone has a great line that she uses often: “Nobody is ever converted by fear.” Because that’s not a real conversion!
Our first reading today tells us that the way people responded to God’s law in the Old Testament is now obsolete. We no longer respond to the law because we think God is going to punish us. No, we no longer respond out of fear, but rather out of love, Love for God and God’s love for us. That love pours forth when we receive communion from this altar each time we come here—where God offers us His very self, in a mountaintop experience so that we might be changed. This love propels us out of fear and is stronger than even death and can drive us out of our of darkness and into the dawn of new possibilities.
So do not be afraid.
Instead come off the mountain…and get to work, my fellow Americans.
And your work is to do one thing and one thing only….. Respond to all things, not out of your fear, but instead with great Love.