Tom Cousins, the Atlanta developer whose philanthropic heart has led him to dedicate his resources to breaking the cycle of poverty, told me about a dream he had one night. It was in the 1980s. In the dream, God (and Tom adds that, when he gets to heaven he will immediately know which one is God because the dream was so vivid) is looking over the city of Atlanta, reeling from racial and economic tension and disparity. God is weeping. And then God asks, “Where is my church? Where is my church?”
Where is my church? Tom believed (believes, for that matter, which is why he has given so generously to Macedonian Ministry’s mission of building up pastoral ministry for the building up of churches that make a difference in their cities) that if the church were being the church, the city would reflect God’s own justice and peace. That if the church were being the church the polis – the city – would better serve all its citizens and enjoy a flourishing commensurate with God’s redemptive design.
Well, I don’t have to tell you that our cities are hurting. Social media streams the crippling effects of our racial, educational, economic, and social malaise into our lives daily. And far too many of you endure that malaise up close and personal on a daily basis. God is weeping and wondering. “Where is my church?” Friends, the church does not have the luxury of not being political. (Even if we are not being “political” that itself is a political statement, a silent support of the injustices in our body politic). We simply do not have the luxury to sit these times out because the redemption of our life together is God’s mission.
So, church, here’s to being political! Here’s to, as in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., being the thermostat and not just the thermometer of our life together in our cities, towns, and to the ends of the earth.