I enjoyed a pleasant afternoon and evening at home this past Sunday. As I read the newspapers and surfed the Internet I found three themes being repeated:
- The constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act which is being argued before the Supreme Court this week,
- The irreparable damage that people acting badly with guns cause in our world.
- The suprising durability of the argument that war can somehow make the world a better place for our children and grandchildren.
To the first theme my response is that I do not know how the Supreme Court will rule. The Court can decide that the Affordable Care Act is essentially a tax and thus cannot legally make a decision about it until it takes affect. This would delay any decision until 2015. It can decide that the mandate that every person must purchase medical insurance is a constitutional or unconstitutional use of legislative power and apply its decision to the entire Act. It can decide to rule on only certain portions of the Act. Beyond the legal disputes there a growing number of voices bearing witness to this benefits of the Act. These include young adults who would have been previously been taken off their parents policies at age 21, people that would have been denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions and people whose cost of care would have exceeded previously existing caps. I hope these voices will not get lost in tumultuous debate.
To the second theme my response it that if Jesus would have told the parable of the Great Banquet in 2012 he would have added to the voices of those making excuses for not participating in this Feast of the Common Good (I have purchased land. I have purchased oxen. I have gotten married.) a voice saying “I have purchased an arsenal. I must go train to use my weapons.” The gun lobby in this country has masterfully used its scare tactics to spread a profound misunderstanding of the Second Amendment and sell a truly frightening number of guns to a very jittery American public.
Allow me to quote New York Times columnist Tom Friedman in response to the third theme. “What ails the Arab world is a deficit of freedom, a deficit of modern education and a defict of women’s empowerment. Afghan men need to be trained to fight? They defeated the British and the Soviets! Where people don’t share our values, we should insulate ourselves by reducing our dependence on oil. But we must stop wanting good government more than they do, looking the other way at bad behavior, telling ourselves that next year will be different, sticking with a bad war for fear of being called wimps and selling more more tanks to people who can’t read.” Schools and hospitals remain very underrated tools of national security.
I trust that these concerns will remain in our prayers even as we prepare to commemorate Palm Sunday. I hope you are planning to join your congregation in worship as we gather on the church steps and process into the Sanctuary to the soaring music of “All Glory, Laud and Honor.”
Prayers of the Congregation
- Jerry and Charlene Wolf on the death of Jerry’s sister
- Leanette Flentroy on the death of her mother
- Geetha Thaker on the death of her uncle and cousin (In India)
- Sandra Dunn for her father
- George and Sylvia Lee
- Larry Hutchings for his mom
- The family of Trayvon Martin and the our nation as we struggle to learn from his death
- The families of the students killed by a gunman at a Jewish School in Toulouse, France
- Sierra LaMar and her family, Sierra is the Morgan Hill teenager who is still missing
- Natalie Washington for her family
- Susan Joachim
- Shirley Jones
- Joan Thatcher for improved health
- Zondra and Homer Martin
- Mary Karne for her neighbor as she continues to grieve
- Doris and Ted Evans for their extended family
- Ann Fields for her family
- The people of Syria, Afghanistan, Burma and other war-torn lands
- Larry Sims for his family
- Brenda McCarthy for her husband as he moves into retirement
- Phil and Gloria Meads for John Parente, Max Powers, Spencer
- Pastor Hopkins as he travels to Los Angeles on Thursday with an OCO team meeting with leaders there in regard to educational reform
- Carol Glann for parents who just lost their 4-month-old child
- All our youth and leaders as they travel to the snow