Please Remember

To all those who voted for the AHCA yesterday,

And to all those who are about to vote on it,

and to all those who might sign it,

Grace to you from our Lord Jesus Christ.

I’m not going to talk to you about policy, about tax cuts and subsidies. I’m no policy wonk. I can’t tell you which policy solution is more effective using graphs and complicated formulas. I’m an inner city pastor and life, for me at least, consists of more than numbers. I’m not going to tell you which party is righteous and which is unrighteous. Such judgments are above the pay-grade of this inner city pastor.

But I will tell you how angry I was yesterday.

No, not angry. For holy anger has a place in this world. It can be a noble calling. No, I was furious. Beyond reasoning and beyond what could be considered holy. By long tradition of the church we are encouraged to pray for our government. Emperors and presidents and even dictators have all been prayed for. The Orthodox church under Stalin even prayed for its government.

But I was so furious yesterday when the AHCA passed the House that I could not manage to pray for you.

Not my best moment.

Fury passes with time so as the day moved forward I took time to find that inner stillness that Eastern saints have called us to and I realized what the source of my fury was: I was worried and afraid.

I have been hearing and reading about how people are afraid in this age. I must admit that this fear has, by and large, passed me by. I counted myself blessed that I did not live in a world that I was afraid of. But perhaps yesterday I grew afraid. Perhaps yesterday that worry was a touch of the fear that has governed so many in our world today.

And I want to be clear that I was not afraid that my neighborhood wouldn’t survive. I was not worried that this vote would mean my neighborhood would need saving. No… I am not a savior and my neighborhood is stronger and more beautiful than you could possibly imagine.

Instead I was worried that you had forgotten.

forgotten the person who is six months from marriage and needs medicaid to bridge the gap until the spouse-to-be’s insurance can be claimed.

Forgotten the very young child with cancer.

forgotten the mother of three who needs medicaid just to keep her children healthy.

As we enter a new day I think I can pray for you again, but my prayer has changed. I used to pray that by God’s grace you would come to know wisdom and mercy. At this moment those words seem like hollow liturgy. Maybe one day I will return to that prayer, but for now my prayer for you has changed.

In ancient days the Israelites sung “blessed is the one who considers the poor” (psalm 41:1).

That is my prayer for you. Instead of wisdom and mercy I simply pray to God that you remember the poor. Please remember! Because it seems like you have forgotten. Forgotten that government was a gift given by God in order to protect us from evil; including the evil of an ideology that believes the value of life is determined by wealth. Forgotten that God considers a just society one that is completely orientated toward caring for the poor. Forgotten the mother with cancer and child in need.

It seems that you have forgotten.

And I pray that you remember.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting!

Amen.

 

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