There is no doubt that we have a crisis in this country. It is a spiritual crisis. It is a crisis of the soul. And it is a national emergency.
There is an anti-Christ spirit in our land that refuses to love our neighbors as ourselves. This spirit has poisoned religion in our culture to the point that people of faith are not only indifferent to the suffering of their neighbors, but they actually doing harm to their neighbors.
This spirit has reduced faith in God to something that is merely private and personal. Faith is understood as something that can save one’s own life, rather than saving the lives of others. It is understood as a ticket to leave this world, rather than keys to loving and blessing this world. Whereas Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us that “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” the church has made life’s most urgent question: “Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior so you can one day go to heaven?”
It is a spirit of selfishness. It is a spirit of greed. It is a spirit of power and privilege.
And although this anti-Christ spirit is obviously demonic, this spirit is not other-worldly. It is a familiar spirit that has haunted our nation since its founding.
The source of this spirit is most revealed today in the politics of Christian White Nationalism that is being fueled by the fear that black and brown people will soon be in the majority. The source of the anti-Christ spirit in our land and our national emergency is racism.
I suppose we think: “If we keep our faith in God personal and private, then we don’t have to obey what Jesus said is the greatest commandment, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and that include those who do not look like us.
The good news is that this evil spirit is no match for the power of love. It never has been and it never will. Love always finds a way.
A bullet in Memphis could not stop it. Jim Crow could not silence it. Civil War could not end it. And a cross in Jerusalem could not crucify it.
I believe the best way to fight an anti-Christ spirit is with the spirit of Love Himself, the spirit of Christ. We can respond to our national emergency and defeat the spirit of the anti-Christ by being the body of Christ, understanding that our faith is not solely a personal matter and should never be private.
The Gospels paint a portrait of a Jesus who is continually tearing down the walls that divide us. From the wall of heaven being ripped apart at his baptism to the temple curtain being being torn in two at his crucifixion, it is evident in the Gospel stories that no wall on heaven or on earth can contain or limit the love of God.
Jesus breaks every barrier erected by religion and culture. He touches lepers and a woman with a hemorrhage, making himself ceremonially unclean. He allows Mary Magdalene to sit at his feet as a disciple, a position (the feet of a Jewish Rabbi) that was previously reserved for male disciples. He welcomes little children to the dismay of his disciples. He learns from a Syrophoenician woman. He asks a woman from Samaria for water. He breaks the chains and liberates a demoniac. He eats and drinks with known sinners. He raises the dead.
I believe this is what is needed to attend to our national emergency today. Understanding that nothing in all of creation separates any of us from the love of God, as the Body of Christ, we must do the public, social and political work of Jesus to proclaim every human being is united by this love. We are all beloved children of God; therefore, we must all learn to live as beloved sisters and brothers.
And trust that love will always find a way.