Yesterday morning Presidential candidate Julian Castro visited Edith at our church. He met with her privately for about 20 minutes, listening to her story, followed by a press conference at which Edith and he spoke. He expressed his support for Edith and his commitment to families in similar circumstances. Local and national press showed up. So did lots of you. A strong showing of people old and young (who got to miss some school) declared by their presence that we stand with Edith.
A candidate for the most powerful office in the world
visiting our sanctuary is cause for pause.
After the main press conference, as people trickled back to where they
needed to be that day, Secretary Castro continued speaking with the press. I snapped this photo which I feel captures
some of the meaning of the moment.
What I like about this photo is the presence of our banner
overlooking the press and the candidate for President of the United
States. The text on the banner reads, “Their
young ones shall lie down together
Isaiah 11:7” It comes from the
passage that speaks of the wolf and the lamb, the calf and the lion living in
harmony. This passage is often called “The
Peaceable Kingdom.” The animals on the
banner portray this not-yet-realized scene of historic enemies living in peace.
And in the foreground is the local and national press
surrounding Secretary Castro, all attention focused on his comments. His words carry weight and substance. What he says streams through cables and wifi
networks onto screens and into eyes and ears.
A single phrase could be clipped, shared, and memed. It elicits comments from pundits and social
One of the treasures of Anabaptism, I believe, is our
historic wrestling with the relationship between the church and the
state. We petition those in power to protect the most vulnerable among
us, but we seek to enact this first ourselves as much as we are able. We
have hopes for good leaders, but don’t place our ultimate trust in the power of
the nation state. The picture of the Peaceable Kingdom speaks of our
higher allegiance, even as we welcome and urge the politics of our nation to
move in this direction. We remember Jesus whose favorite title for
himself was The Human One, who teaches us how to be human even if it conflicts
with established structures. We live within the prayer Jesus taught his
friends which yearns for the kin-dom to come on earth – even as it already is
in the realm we have called heaven.
Perhaps this picture evokes additional thoughts for you.
Yesterday was a good day.
And I like this picture. And
Edith really, really, just wants to go home.