Jesus taught his disciples that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering…be rejected…and be killed…(then saying) “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8.31, 34)
The Republicans, sweeping last fall’s mid-term elections, claiming both houses of Congress, declared that political gridlock would end.
A promise I found hard to believe.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives, beating by bare hours a partial shutdown deadline of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), settled on a one-week funding extension. The reason DHS is the latest in an interminable rack of political footballs? Immigration reform. The Republicans link DHS money as a prod to force the rollback of President Obama’s November 2014 executive orders that protect millions of undocumented persons from deportation.
Political, partisan gridlock, it seems, remains firmly in place.
In November 2016, America will elect the 45th President. Potential rivals, several Republicans and fewer Democrats, have begun honing their campaign messages and stump speeches, those on-point distillations of the their political platforms, all replete with pledges of better solutions to vexing problems and cures for what ails America and the world.
Promises I find hard to believe.
Jesus, in his campaign proclaiming the near presence of God’s kingdom, promised no ready resolution to every problem, but rather his unconditional engagement with the world and all of its suffering. Jesus is a Messiah without the delusional grandiosity associated with a messiah-complex. Jesus is real. So real that what he says about himself, he applies to those who would come after him. As a follower of Jesus, I have come to know that what he says is true. In this problem-plagued world, all is not right and well. It hasn’t been. It is not. And, I suspect, it ne’er will be. Still, in taking up the cross of service to help assuage the suffering of the world, I have known the grace and mercy of courage and endurance, love and forgiveness unconditioned by any length of time or any depth of need.
His promise I believe.