God, Jesus, Race, Politics, and You – Sermon #01

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This past Sunday, Pastor Donnell spoke about God, Jesus, Race, Politics and You (Us). He challenged us to see God as acting very politically in sending his son, Jesus, and told us that we are political, religious beings living in a racialized society. His practical tip was very simple, and forms the basis for our expanded practical tip today. Pastor Donnell suggested that we draw a Venn diagram with Politics in the left hand circle, God (the spiritual and theological) in the right hand circle. The intersection of the two circles is for items which we think are both political and spiritual/theological. (If you can’t remember what a Venn diagram looks like, simply type “Venn diagram” in an internet search engine and you’ll quickly find some good examples.) He then suggested that we take some time to be still in the presence of God and ask Jesus if he’d like to speak to us about the ways we think, speak, and live our politics under his rule and reign.

When you have 10-15 minutes of time free to engage God, I suggest you draw this Venn diagram. Before adding anything to any of the circles, I suggest that you ponder the line from the Lord’s prayer: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” Scripture is full of places where we get a glimpse of God’s will for humanity, but one place is the prayer of Mary, mother of Jesus, which she prayed soon after finding out she was pregnant with the Messiah and visiting her cousin, Elizabeth, commonly called the Canticle of Mary. It is recorded in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1, verses 46-55. I suggest you read it slowly.

My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her lowliness;
henceforth all ages will call me blessed.
The Almighty works marvels for me.
Holy his name!
His mercy is from age to age,
on those who fear him.
He puts forth his arm in strength
and scatters the proud-hearted.
He casts the mighty from their thrones
and raises the lowly.
He fills the starving with good things,
sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, his servant,
remembering his mercy,
the mercy promised to our fathers,
to Abraham and his sons for ever.

Begin placing ideas and actions which belong only in the political sphere in the left hand circle and only those ideas and actions which belong to the spiritual realm in the right hand circle. Items which fall into realms go in the center. After you have written down a half dozen items on your diagram, you might read through the two passages of Scripture again. As you add items to your diagram, hold them before yourself and God to look at. How do you feel about the item? How might God feel about it? How do you feel about where you placed it (Political only, spiritual only, both)? Repeat this process for your other items. When you have gone through them all, you might read the two Scripture passages one last time, very slowly this time. Then sit quietly for a little while. Invite God to join you in your silence. Jot down any significant thoughts or feelings that you had during your time of prayer.

Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: spiritual.practices@annarborvineyard.org.

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