Sidelines are a comfortable space. You can cheer people on. You can support your team. But unless you get in the game, your influence on the outcome is pretty limited.


I recently sat on the sidelines. I had scheduled myself pretty tightly throughout the day. That is the excuse I gave myself when I figured out that I missed getting in the game. 


I watched from the sidelines as one of my best friends took her transgender daughter to St. Paul for Outfront’s rally for LGBTQ youth at the capital. There they felt supported, participated in advocacy work and connected with folks who can and are making a difference. Did you know that 82% of transgender youth have contemplated suicide? And 40% have attempted suicide? It is hard to impact this suicidality from the sidelines.


After work I sent a text message. Another of my best friends was celebrating 20 years of marriage to her wife. There were no posts on Facebook. There were no grand celebrations. There was probably no public recognition of this milestone in their relationship, because some folks still have to stay out of such a spotlight. Even as our larger church moves forward in its openness and welcome of LGBTQiA+ siblings, our queer clergy are not enjoying the freedom to celebrate such milestones publically. So from the sidelines of my very accepted marriage, I celebrated the two of them and their beautiful love for one another.

Sidelines are safe spaces. When you aren’t a player in the game, you don’t risk injury.  But you also don’t influence the outcome.


April 10 we are going to open our time with a grand celebration (palm branches included) of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. That day folks enjoyed being part of the crowd. Later in the week some of the same people sat on the sidelines, willing to let the politics of hate and division overcome Jesus’ ethic of love, accelerating his death. When we contemplate Jesus’ death as a political one, we are challenged to rise up from the sidelines, invest our time in advocacy, and change the world as we model Jesus’ ethic of love in the political realm.


Some will say that politics and the church don’t go together. But Jesus didn’t shy away from speaking to the political realm. He took the political realities of his day head on.  Jesus spoke so often of an ethic of love that countered the politics of hate and division, that it caused his crucifixion. 


I hope you will have the courage to join us on Sunday for both the celebration of Palm Sunday and the challenge of living Jesus’ ethic of love, not just from the sidelines, but by entering the political realm. 


Pastor Becky Jo


PHOTO CREDIT: MSC U15 Green, Used by permission, Creative Commons 2.0



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