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April 9, 2019

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Kirstjen Nielson, center, among other heads that may roll.
News: What happens when you tell Trump “no”? It appears that former Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielson found out, after she urged Trump not to close the southern border as he wanted to do. And CNN has a piece that highlights a number of other former officials who left or were fired from their jobs after they attempted to contradict the president.
As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.” - Luke 19:37-40
Time and again we have watched as the meager handful of people in Trump’s orbit who find some measure of conviction attempt to stand up to him and get swatted down. As Chris Cillizza puts it, "Trump has systematically eliminated opposition to even his wildest asks and demands over the past 18 months - prizing unstinting loyalty to him over all other traits when it comes to searching for replacements to these 'no' men and women.”

I’d venture to guess that most of us are not in Trump’s orbit. We can’t be a direct voice of opposition to the president, or of support to his (occasional) dissenters in the White House. But we are the majority of the public, and we can be vocal.

The above passage from Luke is particularly relevant for me, as a pastor, as I prepare to celebrate Palm Sunday this coming week. This is the refrain my congregation will chant on the streets of New York City as we make our way from the sidewalk to the sanctuary.  “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory to God!"

When folks tell Jesus’ followers to quit making such a racket, he replies that if that were to happen even the stones would cry out! The implication seems clear: it is impossible to silence the peace, the glory, the blessing that is manifest in the work of Jesus.
As those of us in the Christian tradition head toward Palm Sunday, I hope we can take this admonition not to be silent to heart. May we continue to cry out for peace and blessing, even when those in positions of power, and others around us, are being silenced.
God who reminds us not to be silent, may you fill our spirits with your conviction, our mouths with words of peace and blessing, and our bodies with the stamina to continue crying out. Amen.
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