Pastor’s Column: What Pastors Need to be Talking about Right Now
For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but to do the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 6:38)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
On the Monday after Easter, all of God’s Christian children went back to our ‘normal.’ I prayed for a more relevant message about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
I prayed for a more relevant message about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
As I sat listening to the Resurrection Sermon this past Sunday, with three teenagers, (two daughters and a neighbor who lives with us) sitting next to me– all suffering from some form of depression, anxiety and anger– I prayed for a more relevant message about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
I hoped for a message that transformed Jesus from this suffering white dude on the cross to the loving and all powerful darker middle eastern Jewish man, (a more accurate depiction in fact) whose life resounded with a poignant message of love, power and hope to address all they were going through in their lives.
My deepest prayer is that right now Pastors talk about making their actions and words more relatable, relevant and accessible to this generation– the one that no longer packs their churches.
I hope Pastors talk about how they will devote their time to more powerfully connecting the life, death and resurrection of Jesus to the needs of a deeply suffering, self-absorbed, technologically addicted, isolated, and lonely generation, on the one hand. And on the other hand, they are also an incredible generation– one that eschews hypocrisy, demands justice and lives unabashedly authentically in their own truth with little concern for what we old folks think.
And finally, Pastors should tell this generation the truth– doing God’s will is what also got Jesus killed. Because of his infinite love for us he not only died for us, he lived for us. He was preoccupied with healing sickness and disease, (mental and physical) and stood up against the systems of oppression against women, minorities, outcasts, immigrants, the sick, the marginalized, and the poor. (Jesus) continues to change hearts and consequently the world as we know it. Nothing could be more relevant than this.
And just like in Jesus’s case, whenever we work to bring about radical healing and/or to change systems set up by powerful people for their own benefit, there will be resistance, backlash and sometimes violence unto death.
(Jesus) continues to change hearts and consequently the world as we know it. Nothing could be more relevant than this.
Sondra Samuels is the President and CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone – a collaborative of over 40 partner nonprofits and schools. Along with parents, students, partners, and staff, Sondra is leading a revolutionary culture shift in North Minneapolis focused on ending multigenerational poverty through education and family stability. The NAZ Collaborative is working toward a single goal—to prepare low-income North Minneapolis children to graduate from high school college- and career-ready.