We are gathered here today not to bury the Church, but rather to bury our illusions of what the church was.
We may have thought of the church as our safe space.
We may have thought of it as our sanctuary, a shelter from the storms of life.
We may have thought of it as our reliable friend, companion, and guide through the storms.
Surely it is all of this. Yes.
But it has also been our training ground for discipleship. Slowly, but unyieldingly, you have repeated in word and deed, through hymn and creed, that you are about your neighbor and the tough work of loving your enemy into friendship.
You may have thought that it was just practice. A weekly ritual (monthly? can we be honest?), but it has not been.
Slowly but surely your swords have been molded into ploughshears…and if they haven’t, you’ve been attending a political rally, not a church.
Slowly but surely you have prepared for the moment when the church would be pushed into exile, whether by pandemic or politics, and your sensibilities have been honed to detect the bs from the psa.
Do you see? Have you not heard?
Individual rights do not Trump (word used on purpose) communal responsibility.
We have been prepared for a moment like this since our last national crisis. Will we shirk back into kowtowing to the political winds because it is expedient?
Or will we trust the Gospel?
Will we imagine we are like Target and Walmart and Kroger’s?
Or will we admit we are not them, and are often against the profiteering they stand for?
Will you, Beloved, stand up for your baptismal vows? Or kneel before the calls of so-called liberty that bear no resemblance to your freedom in Christ?
This is the question.
Stay home. Trust science. Keep the faith. The faith that says being last actually means you’re first. The faith that says the meek inherit the earth.
The faith that says we are dying to live for our neighbor.