LAST week Reverend Raphael Warnock (a Baptist minister) was elected as the first black Senator for Georgia – what a victory!
He takes on the baton from leading Baptist ministers such as Martin Luther King and John Lewis, who have been brave enough to step into the political arena. I was moved as I listened to him honour his mother, sharing how her “82-year-old hands that used to pick someone else’s cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States senator.”
Times are certainly changing. However, within hours of this momentous win our hearts sank as the scenes unfolded on Capitol Hill. As the seditious crowd stormed the building, I noticed the erection of a makeshift cross, and banners raised high claiming, ‘Jesus Saves.’ I couldn’t help but wonder, who is this Jesus they are worshipping? 

We have no doubt that Trump has his Christian supporters. A staggering 75 per cent of Evangelical Christians voted for him, helping him become one of the most powerful men in the world. His chosen pastors constantly endorsed him and even prophesied that he was God’s chosen one. We have had our own religious nationalistic champions on this island. Whether it is a ‘Jesus Saves’ banner or a ‘For God and Ulster’ slogan –t he dangers and idolatry of Christian nationalism are very evident on both sides of the Atlantic. This nationalism that camouflages itself as Christianity counteracts the very life and teachings of Jesus.
Jesus is for peace.
Jesus is for justice.
Jesus is for equality.
Jesus is for the refugee.
Jesus is for the disregarded and disadvantaged.
Jesus is always on the side of the broken and oppressed.
The good news is that Jesus is already on the margins. We cannot lament over the hate and division while tolerating injustice and oppression. If being Christian is to be ‘Christ-like,’ then we must remember the fruit of the Spirit isn’t power, money, greatness or success. But rather the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). How different would our politics and communities be if we lived  out such qualities?
Let’s continue do the hard work of peace and reconciliation. Let’s continue do the hard work of justice. Let’s continue to make this place a better place to live for us all.