Jim Wallis’s Easter Sermon

Easter

If you have time for one more Easter sermon, here is a taste of Jim Wallis at Sojourners:

As pastors and churches are living into these new and difficult realities, here are three practical and vocational roles that faith communities can play right now in this pandemic crisis:

  1. Faith communities must put their moral authority behind the doctors and scientists pleading with us to practice and maintain our physical distance from one another as the only way to “flatten the curve” of this pandemic and literally save lives. And when the false ministers who refuse science and disobey their elected officials out of their own egos rather than religious liberty, it must be other clergy and congregations that rebuke them. If the “re-opening” of the economy and society becomes politicized, faith communities must stand with public health authorities and their state and local elected leaders closest to the people to determine when it is safe.
  2. We must also fulfill our critical role of preventing social distancing from becoming social isolation. Physical distancing must not be allowed to overcome our social solidarity, which is a biblical meaning of community. I believe that clear role of faith communities is becoming core to us as we approach this holy weekend. Keeping together while standing apart is a vital skill and practice that faith communities can help create and promote — even beyond their doors.
  3. Live into and deepen our vocation to focus on the most vulnerable. Jesus specifically says that how we treat the “least of these” is literally how we treat him. And that text of Matthew 25 is the record of the last sermon he gave just before he entered Jerusalem. The least of these are the least important in Washington, D.C., but for followers of Jesus they must be the most important, and Easter is the right time to proclaim that.

This pandemic has become very revealing of the inequities in our society, the gaping holes in our safety net, and the disparities in our health care and other systems, and the reality of our relationships across racial and economic lines. It has shined a light into the darkness of what we have ignored or accepted for far too long. The coronavirus has exposed and laid bare social injustice, which undermines both our common good and our common health.

For example, it has been said that the coronavirus does not discriminate. But that is not true.

Especially when poor people and too many black and brown people in America don’t have access to safe homes, steady incomes, reliable and healthy food, safe spaces and the prospect of social distancing in their required work and family lives, or access to health and healthy bodies, which makes them more likely to contract and die from this disease.

Poverty and the impacts of structural racism are “co-morbidities,” or preconditions that make it more difficult to avoid and/or survive this lethal coronavirus.

Some people are asking when we will go back to normal.

But we won’t and we really can’t. This historical moment will change us — in ways we can’t control or even predict. How we act now, and with whom, and for whom, will shape and even determine who “we” will be when this current health crisis begins to pass.

My dear friend, Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest and spiritual teacher, gave me an image this Holy Week of a crucified Christ on the cross this Good Friday with outstretched hands saying to a world of coronavirus suffering, “I can’t stop your suffering, but am with you in it.”

Read the entire piece here.