By the Rev. Paul Benz, Director, Faith Action Network
On Palm Sunday (the Passion of our Lord Sunday) it is very common across denominations to have a processional in order to remind us of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem – the political and religious “capital” of Israel. The people were enthralled and excited about this as Jesus walked in procession into Jerusalem, riding on the crest of his popularity as a miracle worker, truth teller and son of God.
When we read the texts recounting what Jesus did after his triumphant procession, we learn about how he spoke “truth to power” and how he touched and transformed lives. Jesus’ mission was to not only cleanse the temple but to “cleanse” people’s lives and all of creation through the ultimate sacrifice of giving his life on the cross. As advocates, we can use the mission of Jesus’ procession into Jerusalem as a guide for actions that we can take as part of our own “procession” toward justice and peace.
One such action might be to exercise our public voice by speaking to those in power about the necessary reforms we need in order to help our brothers and sisters who face hunger and poverty. The most effective way to affect this policy change in the long-term is to first build relationships with our own community members that are affected by the public policies enacted by our government and then create platforms with them so that they are able to speak their truth directly to these decision-makers.
Today in this country we are in the midst of a moment where competing popular public figures promise to improve people’s lives and move America in a positive direction. Our nation and we the people have many key decisions before us this year, and our faith tradition compels us to be engaged. Another action that can help us walk in procession toward justice is to engage in our electoral process and ensure that all citizens are provided the opportunity to participate. (You can join fellow Lutherans as we pray and act together this year by joining our #ELCAVotes initiative!)
As we continue through Holy Week, the Easter season, and the rest of this year, may we remember our baptismal calling and vocation as it directs us to walk in procession into the halls of power AND into our neighborhoods using our voices to speak out (and our ears to listen), empowering our neighbors, and using our hands to touch and transform.
You can learn more about the work of Faith Action Network by visiting their website at http://fanwa.org/.
Our ELCA Advocacy initiatives are made possible through support from ELCA World Hunger. As we near the end of this Lenten season, register yourself or your congregation for ELCA World Hunger’s 40 Days of Giving to ensure that we can continue to work for systemic change that truly supports our brothers and sisters facing poverty and hunger.