We come to the table confessing the truth that by ourselves, we can’t do anything about the divisions in our country or world except exacerbate them. On our own, we really can’t love our enemies. But if we can accept the fact that Christ loves us—that he loved us even when we were enemies of God [Rom 5:10]—then we can let Christ love our enemies through us. This is the way the division ends. This is the way the world begins again.
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.