I woke up this morning with my heart heavy and twisted in knots after a troubled night of sleep. I don't have exact words for it, but I am grieved over the state of the Church in the United States. On the one side, we find those who have dug in their heels and continue to conflate Trumpism with Christianity no matter how grievous his continued policies towards immigrants and all those at the margins, and no matter how much these policies violate more than 2,000 verses of Scriptural admonition. In response, I observe an understandable revulsion and turning away on the part of many other Christians who are keyed into the ways in which so many of Trump's policies are violently destroying the lives and families of thousands. What grieves my heart among the latter is that so many have distanced themselves from the local church and the global Body of Christ, and we cannot be the Church without being connected to, and relating to, the Church in all of its diversity. Nor can we be the Church by being primarily informed in our thinking by activist principles with a sprinkling of God's Word on top. As a professor of ethnic studies for nearly 15 years and a community organizer, I know that doesn't end well.
I find solace in being reminded that the Church's vocation lies precisely at the intersection of the pain of the world and God's love (N.T. Wright). Jesus Himself dwells at that intersection. Indeed, it is there that the Spirit of God intercedes for us, though we may not have the words:
"22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." Romans 8: 22-27
Thank you Lord, that you meet us precisely at our point of deepest wounding and confusion.