Thursday, September 15, 2016

Standing on the side of love is the best politics of all

When the question arose about who would be willing to help with the October, 2016 service in our small UU congregation about "politics", the story in Matthew 15 - 22 immediately came to mind:

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said.16 So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” 21 They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”22 When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

It seemed that in this year, 2016, with an increasingly polarized and ugly presidential campaign season, the idea to address "politics" was like walking into a mine field. UUs covenant together to affirm and promote a principle, the fifth of seven, "the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large." Having been raised a Roman Catholic and as a practitioner of that religion before  moving to Unitarian Universalism, the teachings of Jesus still ring true and resonate strongly in the head and heart to the extent that there is a realization that the kingdom of which Jesus taught is not of this world. The story is told in John 18:

 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate.
And Jesus puts His finger right on the issue when it comes to the "right of conscience" and that is "what is the truth?" 
It does not appear that the truth is important in the 2016 Presidential campaign and yet it is something that we Unitarian Universalists profess to care about. Our caring can be very stressful until we realize that the truth which we seek in faith is not likely to be found easily in this world of ego drama, but rather in the transcendent understanding of the interdependent web of all existence of which we are just a tiny part. If we are to take Jesus' advice, we simply give to the Emperor that things that are the Emperor's, and to God the things that are God's. The things that are of God is love for Jesus told us that the way to His Kingdom is "to love as I have loved." Unitarian Universalists strive to Stand On The Side Of Love which is the best politics of all.

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