It’s not my country, so he was never my president, but that’s the name of my God and Saviour unfurled on a banner in the middle of that mess, so pardon me a few words.
Yesterday was Epiphany, which basically means ‘appearing’. We remember that God has appeared in Jesus Christ, and the wise men travelled from afar to see him.
And despite the best intentions of a power-hungry ruler, when those dignitaries arrived to see the helpless Jesus (perhaps now just a couple of years old), they did something staggering. They bowed down and worshipped. They had seen the true king, and he was gentle and lowly.
I hope you can see it’s a world away from the sickening scene of crosses next to nooses on Capitol Hill. I hope you can see that, yes, ‘Jesus saves’, but he ain’t in the business of saving nationalistic empires. Or fuelling hatred and propping up ego. Or putting up with systemic racism in exchange for power.
In fact, he appeared to stoop and ‘save’ precisely because of all this – and more besides.
Because, if we’re honest, we can all be like Herod. We do that thing where we shape ‘god’ into our own image. Our own agendas and manifestos and wants. We cling onto power when really we should be on our knees before Him in worship.
So if we’re tempted to claim his name, first try following him. Follow him as he told his friend to put his sword away and then brought healing in its wake. Follow him as he showed dignity to each life that he created. Follow him as he climbed a hill to lay his power down.
As the Scripture says, ‘he came not to be served by to serve – and to give his life as a ransom for many’.
Yes, with a crown of thorns and a throne of grace, thank God that this Jesus saves.
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