Elizabeth Eisenstadt-Evans, an Episcopal priest and freelance columnist, writes for LancasterOnline that “sticking to scripture” is the recipe many preachers have found for keeping congregants and influencing people in a divided political age.
“I have had some of our clergy talk with me about how to approach the task of preaching in these times when we find some of our congregations divided across political lines. My advice has been to remind them that the most important thing for any preacher is to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel,” Audrey Scanlan, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, wrote in an email message.
“Jesus’ message to us of justice, peace and mercy is timeless, and our call as Christians is to follow Jesus, carrying his truth into the world in word and action. That has been the case for more than 2,000 years and has not changed, regardless of who is in political office.”
Some preachers hear this mandate differently than others.
The Rev. Craig Ross, pastor at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Manheim Township, said he’s not doing anything “dramatically different” than before. “We try to shape a culture away from politics.” he said. “We can still be the people of God together.”
Riffing on a verse in the New Testament book of Revelation, Ross added: “I’m the lukewarm guy getting spit out of God’s mouth. I’m always in the middle.”
But not everyone tries to steer a straight line down the center.
Roman Catholic priest Jim McDermott, who pondered the delicate balance of respecting the demands of the Gospel message, which draw clergy outward, and the pastoral needs of an already divided flock.
Surveying a landscape that was already rent by partisan conflict this past February, he wrote this in a commentary for the Catholic media outlet America: “If parish priests and other Catholics in the United States cannot stand up in this important moment for the very people Jesus stood with — the marginalized and needy that Pope Francis keeps calling our attention to; the meek, the mourning, the poor in spirit and the hungry for righteousness described as ‘blessed’ by Jesus in the Gospel reading the Sunday after the Trump administration’s travel ban was announced — we might as well pack up our Mass kits, turn out the church lights and permanently relocate to the beach.”
Read more of the article here. How do you hope to hear gospel truths and political realities addressed from the pulpit?