Appeal to my Christian Friends who voted for Donald Trump; a poem by Langston Hughes and the Lessons for Sunday, August 20th

Image result for charlottesville white supremacy rallyELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Isaiah 56:1, 6–8
Psalm 67
Romans 11:1–2a, 29–32
Matthew 15: 10–28

PRAYER OF THE DAY: God of all peoples, your arms reach out to embrace all those who call upon you. Teach us as disciples of your Son to love the world with compassion and constancy, that your name may be known throughout the earth, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

“My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”  Isaiah 56:7

The open and inclusive invitation extended by the prophet Isaiah to all peoples of every nation to enter into the temple and participate in Israel’s covenant with her God was on display this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia as a group of clergy from different faith backgrounds and varied racial and cultural origins walked through the city, arms linked, while silently offering prayers. All of this stands in stark contrast to the shouts of “blood and soil” chanted in those same streets at what was supposed to be a rally by white supremacists. The quiet, but forceful witness of the church testifies to the world and reminds us fellow Christians that ours is not a faith of blood and soil. For disciples of Jesus, water is thicker than blood. What defines us is our baptismal covenant in Jesus Christ that cuts across racial, national and tribal boundaries. Disciples of Jesus have no permanent “soil” on earth to call their own. Their lifeblood is that of the Son of God poured out for the sake of the world. As Paul points out in his letter to the Philippians and the author of Hebrews makes very clear, “our commonwealth is in heaven.” While we wait for and witness to the advent of a new heaven and a new earth, we live as resident aliens in and among the nations.

All of this is so obvious that it should not have to be said. But unfortunately, saying it loud and clear is now more important than ever before.  Read more

  1. #1 by Susan Fries on August 16, 2017 - 10:26 am

    Hate and violence should never be the anecdote for our differences, no matter what the cause. To live in a country now where our president, voted in by Americans, is taking sides in a situation where he should be mediating is appalling, let alone his leaning toward the side of violence as if it’s not a big deal. One young woman was murdered and others injured PURPOSELY, Mr. President. Time to put the big-boy pants on and be a leader. We send our soldiers to war to defend these rights and to protect our people, it’s not up to you to shirk that cause or your responsibility to uphold things and make them right; not add to the fire. If you cannot do that, you should not be in office.

  2. #2 by Heidi Reid-Champigny on August 16, 2017 - 3:15 pm

    Well said, thank you. I hope you sent this to the white house / president.

  3. #3 by John Mirenda on August 16, 2017 - 4:45 pm

    President Trump did not take sides, just the opposite, he lay responsibility on all who used violence in this appalling and tragic incident. The violence did not come from just one side or a few individuals. Look deeper, it may have been a setup. I hope the Justice department truly investigates the incident and indicts those responsible, including public officials who may have abrogated their responsibility to protect the public, regardless of their viewpoint or political affiliation. I also reject Rev. Olsen’s attempt to pin blame for this event on Trump voters and supporters. Does God not hold us individually responsible for our sins? We must hold the real perpetrators responsible for their individual acts. If not then how can there be justice, divine reward and punishment?

    • #4 by revolsen on August 16, 2017 - 5:48 pm

      Well, John, he did say both sides-at first. Then he came out and said white nationalists were responsible. Then he came out today to say that what he said at first is what he meant and added, for good measure, that these original protesters were actually “decent people” who came to peacefully protest the removal of the Lee statue. Just because they were protesting the removal of a statue doesn’t make them racists. Seriously? What kind of decent people march along with a crowd under the Nazi flag-even if they don’t happen to be holding it? Do you find that credible? Seems you and some folks do. But your numbers are shrinking. It seems that Donald Trump has finally done something that tickles the gag reflex of even his most staunch supporters. And yes, God surely does hold us individually responsible-for everything we do, including our vote. Finally, I think you are being a little hard on the public officials. They issued a permit for a peaceful demonstration against the removal of a statue. They got an armed gang shouting racist insults and threatening Jews, people of color and just about everyone they don’t like with deportation and death. Under the circumstances, the authorities seem to have done what they could. Two officers lost their lives responding to this situation. You can hardly ask more than that.

      • #5 by John Mirenda on August 16, 2017 - 6:29 pm

        Pastor, thanks for your reply, but I do not buy your spin, nor do I think you have all the facts needed to make the judgements you pronounce. I have no desire to debate this or anything with you, I overcame my natural reticence to comment publicly on this blog only because,beyond the appalling events themselves, I am outraged at the mischaracterization of the President’s comments and misreading of his intentions, which you have so eloquently contributed to. I don’t find it helpful, or particularly Christian, to rush to judgement without all the facts, and will wait to see if the justice department can manage an objective and complete investigation of this, from start to finish, and lay blame where blame is due. God bless you, Pastor, and everyone in the congregation of Trinity Lutheran Church.

  4. #6 by Simone Valle on August 20, 2017 - 9:05 am

    Thank you, Pastor, yet again for your guidance. I have turned many times to this blog for help understanding and responding to the incredible events of these last several months.

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