Sometimes it takes an outsider to help us see the obvious: that we are in way over our heads. While none of us is Moses, we have all been in situations where we are way overextended, stretched to the limit and beyond the limit. Often we’ve been in that position long enough to forget that we ever had a limit. This can happen at work, in our job of parenting, or in the task of caregiving. It can happen as we struggle with divorce or job loss or chronic illness. In fact, for many of us, this is just daily living. The thing is that the more overwhelmed we get, the more isolated we become. Even when we are surrounded by people, we can feel very much alone. But often we don’t admit it until someone else notices it. Jethro noticed it and called Moses on it. “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone…?”
To those who still can’t let go of their ego, Jesus says, “Let me welcome that child in you who was always afraid to be last, always worried that someone would think they were least, always waiting for someone to tell them to get lost. Give that child to me, and then I will give you the strength to welcome every such child in my name. By loving and serving the last in your world, you will come to know what it’s like to be first in mine.”
I think we should require everyone who wants to hold public office to read the Letter of James, especially the third chapter: "How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire…a world of iniquity…a restless evil, full of deadly poison." And then we should issue every voter a fire extinguisher.
So this morning, we ask, “What would Jesus say about this country’s original sin of racism?” This isn’t just an academic question. It hits much closer to home than that. What would he say in response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville? What would he say about the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson or Trayvon Martin in Florida or Oscar Grant in Oakland or earlier this year Stephon Clark in Sacramento? What would he say about the despicable bullying of an African American student that took place in a dorm room in San Jose?
That’s wise because there is something you cannot give him, no matter how much you love him, no matter how hard you work, how carefully you plan, and how diligently you save. You can save your energy, because it is something that has already been given to him. With absolutely no effort on your part, the divine life has been implanted in him. Baptism is our way of recognizing that God has already given Lincoln everything he needs to be all that God created him to be. Your job is just to help him discover this truth and to help him hold onto it for dear life.