Dear President Trump,
Even though I don’t believe in a God figure that’s out there orchestrating things, it does seem like messages come in on cue pretty often. Of course humans like to glean meaning from pretty much anything so we are apt to interpret things as though they are messages meant for us when we need them. What’s prompted all this is that today’s lectionary was about bad and good leadership. This message would have been spot on every other Sunday for the past 78 weeks so I won’t say more about the timing except that after the past week of your spectacularly bad leadership it was sobering to see that such behavior was being called out over two thousand years ago.
The two passages we read today were Jeremiah 23:1-6 and Mark 6:30-34, 53-56. The Jeremiah passage focuses on God’s message to bad shepherds who destroy and scatter their sheep regarding how they will absolutely have to answer for the evil they have perpetrated on those entrusted in their care. Mark’s passages give us a sense of what loving leadership looks like. First we are told that Jesus encouraged his disciples to take care of themselves, to take some down time. Later, the chapter transitions to how people living in the small towns they encountered were like sheep without a shepherd and how hungry they were for someone loving to lead them. It wasn’t directly stated, but it was pretty clear that Jesus was tired himself and that out of his compassion he mustered energy to address the people’s suffering.
Lately my friends and I have been pining for leaders like John McCain, Bob Dole, and George W. Bush. These are people we vehemently disagree with on almost everything, but they were (or are) honorable leaders who cared about those they led and whose word meant something. Yes, we can find examples of times they were less than honorable or didn’t tell us the truth and they will no doubt have to reckon with themselves and if they have a God-belief, with their God, but they are people I believe would be able to look me in the eye and say they did their level best to lead well. And that says a lot. And that is something you will never be able to say because you do not love your people.
May we be safe from evil leaders.
May we be happy to elect leaders who lead because they love all their people.
May we help our loving leaders take care of themselves.
May we not blindly follow leaders who do not care whether we are cannon fodder.