Sermon Summary, Feb 21, 2016, “The Sweet Spot”
(Feb 14 was a snow day) This was to have been a Valentine’s Day sermon, “Sweet Spot”; but it’s more closely related to baseball (pitchers and catchers reported to spring training this week). Anybody who’s played knows the great feeling of hitting the ball on the sweet spot. That’s the spot where all the energy is transmitted to the ball. We’re also in the political season, “Where Faith and Politics Meet.” Wouldn’t it be great if instead of political vibration we cold be transferring the maximum amount of energy to the governing process? Wouldn’t it be great?
We need to strive for balance. We used to have moderates. Now even Republicans and Democrats are calling themselves Conservatives and Liberals. CK Chesterson said, “Liberals exist to make mistakes, and conservatives to make sure mistakes are never corrected.” Tony Campollo better said, “Liberals and conservatives need each other: Conservatives maintain lines that should never be crossed, while liberals destroy many lines that should never have existed.”
Faith has had liberals and conservatives from the beginning. Israel just passed a law allowing woman to pray at the West Wall with men (a line that should have never existed); Muslims have conservatives interpreting the Quran as it was written in the seventh century while moderates claim the violence only applied to Mohammed’s wars. There may never be a resolution. Paul struck a sweet spot, a middle ground, “the whole law is summed up in a singly commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Gal 5:14) Then nailed it with the fruit of the Spirit. (Gal 5:22) Wouldn’t you like your politicians to exercise a little kindness or self-control?
We defined our political process as “Who gets what, when and how.” Who and what we learn from the stories and teachings of Jesus. Where and how is part of how we use our vote.
In this political season I challenge you to search out five of the top issues, research the who and the what from Scripture. Then using Tradition, Experience (prayer and nudgings of the Spirit) and reason to conclude the how. Examine to positions of two or three candidates, including a polar opposite before you decide to cast your vote. And remember, we are selecting the leader of the free world for reasons we cannot foresee. When it happens, we are electing him or her to hit the ball on the sweet spot.
Martin Luther King in using the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-27) said the Priest and the Levite responded from fear asking “What will happen to me?” while the Samaritan asked “What will happen to him?” Maybe we find the sweet spot balancing security and compassion on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho.