Beware of evil. Do not refrain from speaking at the proper moment. Do not subject yourself to a fool, or show partiality to a ruler. Fight to the death for the truth, and the Lord God will fight for you.
So states some of our Wisdom literature reading from the OT today.
Oh how this hits close to home.
As a people who have had to endure one of the most foolish administrations to date in the great history of our nation, it is a daily battle of when to speak and when to keep silent.
This is doubly challenging as a pastor. I do not want to take sides politically. But I also realize my silence violates scripture when the actions of one, or many, add to the sin of our land.
We are called to speak, not to be reckless in our speech, but also not sluggish in our deeds. Wisdom and justice and peace follow.
This is incredibly important for our ministry in our dark times, when the assault on truth is at an all time high. As we erode confidence in the sacredness of our own word, we run the risk of descending into anarchy. The other choice is almost worse, for fascism is right around the corner from eroded truth as well.
One of the aspects of our reading from Sirach today (also called Ecclesiasticus) is forgiveness. We must have a stance of forgiveness and humility, not afraid to confess our sins. Let God will sort out the evil doers, our text implores us.
And that is a helpful reminder. I can only invest so much energy barking at the wind, or working to change a broken system. At the end of the day I have to fix myself too.
But let us be bold, sisters and brothers:
“Watch for the opportune time, and beware of evil, and do not be ashamed to be yourself. For there is a shame that leads to sin, and there is a shame that is glory and favour.”
Maybe I should get that tattooed into my flesh.