Amnesty is usually given because we know and like the people who receive it. We even talk about how amnesty is given because the recipients have “earned” it. But how do you “earn” something that is freely given? If you “earn” it, then it’s not amnesty; it’s a form of compensation. We grant amnesty to people we know and like and we withhold it from people we do not know or we do not like.
The story of Jesus’ birth still carries a strong message for the United States today; that providing hospitality to those who most need it can being unexpected blessings. It also parallels much of our national context today when the ruling authorities, threatened by the mere presence of Jesus as a baby, crack down with overwhelming power, far beyond what was necessary.
The violence on Tuesday has created an expected and much-needed reflection by political leaders of both parties. But, as equally expected, this reflection has been superficial at best. My hope is that their time of reflection would give time for us to look at the unnecessary violence injected into the world and rethink more than just their speech, but the very policies they are enacting.
I fear that those who will see their candidate become president on January 20th have voted against their divine calling as humans created in the image of a hospitable God. Those of us who claim that the bible has some degree of authority over how we live must now resist any attempt to enact or embody this man’s inhospitable vision for our shared life as a nation.
I believe the time is so ripe for us to throw off the shackles of institutional commitments that make us busy and perhaps even give us identity, but which also blur our vision and suck our passions dry, and for us to build a revolution. And this will be a revolution of invitation that eliminates marginalization, a revolution of shared plenty that overcomes greed and isolation, and a revolution of love that drives out fear. Thanks to Jesus, the revolution is here. We need only to live it out in shared spaces with others.