Today is Inauguration Day – A day we inaugurate a new president in this country. This year is a bit different than previous inaugurations. There’s a raging pandemic that has killed over 400,000 of our fellow citizens and has caused significant changes in our lives, and hence what will take place at the Inauguration.
We also have threats of violence from our own citizens, which also causes more changes to the Inauguration. Reports are that there are 25,000 National Guard troops in DC to handle any disruption or potential violence. Streets and the National Mall are shut down. This will be a different Inauguration for sure.
Which leads to a question for us to consider – what are we inaugurating? Are we going to inaugurate violence as a form of politics? Seeking power through shows of intimidation and fear? Are we inaugurating a different way of doing things? Are we inaugurating a focus on the virus that we face, along with the deeper virus of conspiracy theories and white supremacy and white nationalism?
How about in the church – what are we inaugurating? Well, for one thing the Kingdom of God has already been inaugurated. It is unfolding in our midst. It may be difficult to see sometimes though. Humanity has a way of blurring our vision through habitual violence and shows of might to intimidate and manipulates – through sin and unjust systems. It never works ultimately, no matter how much we try and who tries. These efforts always fail.
So what are we inaugurating church?
How about we inaugurate embracing reality – that the old models of the church aren’t working in the new circumstances we find ourselves in. Besides being familiar with these ways, what reasons do we have to hold onto ways and models that aren’t working and will not lead to thriving life for the church?
How about we inaugurate care for the poor, the outcast, the homeless?
How about we inaugurate a confession of being held in the grip of white supremacy and white nationalism and confusing the nation with the Kingdom of God and God’s savior?
How about we inaugurate kindness and care and concern for others and do things that are in the best interest of the whole – the community – rather than just what is in our own best interest?
How about we inaugurate a holy stewardship in which decisions in the church are made based on what Jesus is calling us to, rather than what money directs us to do or not do?
How about we inaugurate discipleship in which we are all ministers, ministering to each other and the people around us – both those we know and don’t know?
How about we inaugurate peace – a way of being that isn’t just about the absence of conflict, but moving us into real community together?
How about we inaugurate love of our enemies? That kind of love is costly, but it is what we are called to.
How about we inaugurate a welcoming of strangers and foreigners because they bear the image of God? When we recognize that how we treat strangers is equal to how we treat God because of the image they bear, then we’ll be inaugurating a new way of being together.
How about we inaugurate all the things we have claimed to stand for centuries.
Because we can’t inaugurate any of these things really.
They have already been inaugurated by God. That’s the good news. The hard work is done already. All we are doing is following the lead of Jesus. We don’t even have to be creative about it. Just follow what he calls us to do.
We don’t have to inaugurate these things. We are called to participate in them though. To continue to carry them out. To live into them as followers of God, as disciples of Jesus. Let us inaugurate our lives into faithful living and in alignment with Jesus and God’s kingdom. That’s the oath that I hope we all take at noon today regardless of what any politician’s speech will be.