02 Apr Sermon Snap Shot March 31, 2019
Earlier I noted that peacekeeping and persecution are linked for Jesus. It’s essential to remember that Jesus was not persecuted because he was feeding the hungry or healing the sick. He was persecuted because he sought to establish God’s peaceable kingdom – one full of truth and justice – everywhere he went. And this peacemaking was disruptive. It was seen a threat by both the religious and political establishment, so much so that they conspired to get rid of him.
And yet God, as God so often does, took this tragedy and redeemed it, bringing about reconciliation, healing and peace for Jews and Gentiles alike.
When we as disciples follow the Way of Jesus, we too will discover that peacemaking and persecution are linked for us as well. When I think about my nearly 20 years in full-time ministry, every time I have actively sought to be a peacemaker – where there is truth-telling and a desire for justice on all sides – I have felt it.
When I have spoken out about how all conversations on race must give an account for white privilege, I have felt it.
When I have spoken out on the need for our free market system to have checks and balances on it and safety nets for those who end up losing, I have felt it.
When I have spoken out against war as a means of effective foreign policy – as was the case in the months leading up to the war in Iraq, I have felt it.
When I have made the argument that all human beings deserve access to some level of basic medical care, I have felt it.
When I have argued that women should have a voice at all levels of the Church, I have felt it.
And when I have argued that we can’t say we welcome ALL without truly meaning ALL, I have felt it.
When we are poor in spirit, meek, mourning, or hungering and thirsting for righteousness, we are pitied more than not by those with status and power. But when we seek to expand God’s peaceable kingdom – one rooted in truth and justice for all – we will feel it.
Today’s message is not about going out and looking for trouble. Today’s message is simply reminding us that the Way of Jesus will involve sacrifice and push back, if not outright persecution. But blessed are those who remain steadfast and undeterred.
From Sunday, March 31 message based on Matthew 5:1-12, “Be(autiful) Attitudes: Peacemakers and Persecuted”
Pastor Waters Edge UMC