I was asked this week how I feel about the inauguration today. The person knew how I felt about the newly-elected President. They knew the sorrow and anger I felt at having our 45th President be someone who openly supported racism, xenophobia, sexual assual, hatred and distrust of others. I'm not sure what they thought my response would be, but all I could reply was, "I will actively continue to strive to live a Christ-formed life and to teach my kids to do the same." But what does that mean?
Whenenver I am asked why I believe and talk and write as I do (a question that is also asked by other Christians), I reply, "The Beatitudes." That is the foundation where I start.
"Seeing the crowds, he went on the mountain, and when hs sat dwon, his disciples came to him.
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisified.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of god.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
This is not empire. This is the kingdom of God which turns everything upside down and completely changes the order of things and how we view power and authority. These words of Christ are not metaphor but are meant to actually be lived out in our day to day lives.
These are what I will continue to work to live towards and teach my kids to live by. I will continue to raise my sons to be those who speak up against authority when it oppresses or marginalizes anyone. We will continue to love others withouth judgment. We will continue to respond to hate with love, violence with peace, discrimination with acceptance, and cruelty with compassion. I want my sons to not be silent whenever they see someone left out, someone bullied, someone discriminated against for any reason, to practice kindness with all, and to not judge others based on their gender, race, sexuality, or socio-economic level.
If you want to find Christ, then you have to go to the least of these. You have to be a voice for the voiceless. You have to call for justice to roll down like the prophet Hosea did.
I believe that civil disobedience can look like marching in the streets in peaceful protest, but it can also be in actively loving others as Christ did. It is living out the Beatitudes when it isn't easy, which it never is, and when it can cost you something, including friendships, social status, or popularity. Those things don't matter in the end. When we stand before God, He will not ask us, "How many likes did your post get? How many followers do you have on Twitter or Instagram?" No, He will ask, "Did you love like I love? Did you show mercy, grace and compassion to those who can never repay you for it? Did you help the least of these?"
So our family will stand up and be a power of change in our own home, our community and in our country. We will not close our doors but open our hearts to others, including refugees. We don't believe in building bigger walls but bigger bridges, bigger tables where all are welcome to come. We will embrace the hurting, comfort the mourning, love the unloved.
Earlier this week our country celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is someone whose life I show to my sons as an example of being a prophet of peace. His words and his actions were rooted in scripture, especially the Old Testament prophets and in Christ. All day Monday, I saw people posting his words online on social media, but what I tell my sons is, "We need to not just post King's words, we need to live them out." So when he said, "I have decided to stick with love , . , Hate is to great a burden to bear," then we should do likewise in how we react to the world around us.
Love is the greatest revolution there is. But it's also the costliest. It can cost a person their very lives to stand up for peace, to stand up for love, to stand against nonviolence and discrimination, to stand up against war, to stand up against a government that serves the few at the cost of the many.
Now is not the time to mourn or be silent. Now is the time to let love speak loudest.