Hi…

A few weeks ago, I offered in a Sunday Message the thought that instead of New Year’s “Resolutions”, we might instead consider seven “New Rules To Live By” in 2021. Since that Sunday, I have been asked to put those in writing. And since we are now in the season of Lent, a time in which we are asked to reflect and recommit to moving our lives closer to the example of Jesus, I thought this might be a helpful time to present those “rules” once again. So…for your consideration:

#1

Leave others’ stuff alone: If a politically, socially or religiously related banner, sign or other on somebody else’s house or a church bothers us, by all means disagree with it and say so, but don’t burn it, steal it or tear it up. It’s not ours. And besides, we will never influence anyone to change their perspective on anything that way.

#2

Quit treating those who disagree with us on a single issue, or a single detail about a specific issue as our enemy: There are exceptions to this for those who advocate for things like white supremacy or religious extremism. But we seem to do this more and more with more and more issues that don’t warrant it.

#3 (slightly tongue-in-cheek)

If you want to be an “internet troll” – someone who intentionally posts inflammatory comments online for the sole or primary purpose of provoking others – you must be an actual troll – a mythical creature who lives under a bridge or rock.

#4

Those who have been deemed “essential workers” throughout this pandemic must still be treated as essential after. Once things return to whatever the new “normal” will look like, grocery store workers, delivery people, health aides, etc. must be paid a suitable living wage and given the courtesy and respect they should have been getting all along.

#5

Related to #4, for every statue, building or whatever dedicated to a political, military or economic figure, at least one must be dedicated to a doctor, scientist, or other health care leader.

#6

Begin finally treating health care as a human right, instead of a “privilege” or “benefit”.

#7

Lastly, something I have said to the congregations I have served at the start of 2005, 2009, 2013, 2017: While political leaders matter and matter greatly, we must never lose sight of the truth that our salvation will never be found in elected leaders of any kind. It will never come from any political leader or party. It will only come from our rising up to God’s hopes and call for us to follow Jesus’ call to lives rooted in compassion, justice, forgiveness, generosity and mercy.

Lenten Blessings,

Mark