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I shocked my Sunday School class when I argued that Jesus didn’t always advocate for docile faith. He modeled compassion by healing the sick and caring for the poor. The respect he showed sinners, prostitutes, lepers, children, and women showed that he saw all people as children of God. And he commanded his followers to love all their neighbors. His message left on an impact on his followers. The early church was defined by how they cared for the marginalized. Despite his message of turning the other cheek and caring for the poor, the humble and the meek, he did got violent when he saw the Temple leaders capitalizing on their faith, taking advantage of God’s people. During Passover, people traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover at the Temple. Some industrious businessmen decided to sell animals so that those who had traveled to the Temple could also sacrifice animals on the Passover. When Jesus saw this Jesus "made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.” It wasn’t just that they were selling animals for sacrifice, the merchants were selling animals at exorbitant prices taking advantage of people’s faith. Leaders of the synagogue traded their faith for power and money. And Jesus’ response was to drive out the money changers violently. His response shows his passion. His father had made a covenant with the people of Israel so that the people could be a blessing to all peoples. Instead, the leaders of the Jewish faith had allowed people to monetize that relationship. Rather than being a blessing, they took advantage of people’s faith to make money. I wonder what Jesus would say about our church leaders selling out our faith for political power. Church leaders are ignoring the cries of babies at the southern border, who like Jesus, are refugees escaping violence to vote for candidates that will make abortion illegal. We are okay with the poor being marginalized and denied health care so that we can have a white evangelical version of Christianity legalized in the courts. We’ve thrown out all of Jesus teachings for power and money. And the argument that Jesus wants us to sit idly by or to be pleasant and agreeable is laughable. Jesus invites us to drive out those who are taking advantage of his people with whipcords. He asks us to overturn tables and to stand up to those who are bastardizing the faith he taught. And tomorrow we get to do that at the ballot box. Tomorrow we can vote to say that those who disparage God’s image bearers with racist comments don’t get to represent us in office. Our votes get to loudly declare that we won’t ignore the cries of babies. Tomorrow at the ballot box we get to say that we believe in God who said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

#lovingthepoor #politics

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