John Lewis, the civil rights leader and congressman from Georgia, says that when he spent time with MLK Jr., he was inspired to get in what he calls “good trouble.”
Jesus came into Jerusalem, on the Sunday we call Palm Sunday, to get into “necessary trouble.” And when we spend time with him, we get inspired to get into “good trouble,” too. Living by “getting into good trouble for God” is one of the places from which Hope comes.
Living like Jesus brings Hope.
The “good and necessary trouble” that Jesus came into Jerusalem for on Palm Sunday, was to let himself become the ultimate scapegoat on the cross, so that we, as his followers, would never scapegoat any other person or group again. And when we live our lives working to liberate the vulnerable ones among us from being scapegoated, we find Hope for ourselves, as well. Because what we’re able to allow God to do through us to liberate others, we ultimately do for ourselves.
Who are some of the people being scapegoated in our country today? Groups of people being blamed for society’s problems? Let’s collect some here together: refugees, people living south of the US border, non-religious people, people who are poor, people with disabilities, LGBTIQ people, people of color, people who are liberal, people who are conservative, people who support the gun lobby, pacifists, people who practice another religion other than Christianity, people from Arab nations, single mothers, people who are experiencing addiction or homelessness…and the list goes on…
Who are some of the people that you recognize yourself scapegoating at times? It’s okay to own it. That’s the healthy thing to do; it lets God be God when you feel prejudice rise up in you and your response is: “God, I need your help. I’m willing to see this differently; I want to see things YOUR way.” This is a spiritual practice better than pretending it isn’t there or rationalizing it as not being as bad as somebody else’s prejudice. That helps absolutely no one. Remember, what we do for others to liberate them, we ultimately do for ourselves.