Dear President Trump:
Today’s Daily Lectionary readings are about building. In the Old Testament reading, God appoints Jeremiah “over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down . . . to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:10) In the Epistle reading, Paul writes: “the work of each builder will become visible. . . and the fire will test what sort of work each has done.” (I Corinthians 3:13)
In Trump: The Art of the Deal, you tell captivating stories about the large-scale building projects you have envisioned and completed. Of one such project you wrote, “I was relentless, even in the face of the total lack of encouragement, because much more often than you’d think, sheer persistence is the difference between success and failure.”
In your new role as President of the United States, I urge you to be equally relentless in the pursuit of healing justice.
Pope Francis has offered this counsel for all who choose to build through a life of public service: “Every man, every woman who has to take up the service of government, must ask themselves two questions: ‘Do I love my people in order to serve them better? Am I humble and do I listen to everybody, to diverse opinions in order to choose the best path?’ If you don’t ask those questions, your governance will not be good.”
May these probing questions guide you so that your governance will be good. And may you have the sheer persistence to pursue healing and justice for this nation. If you do, the legacy you leave will be far greater than any tower or skyscraper you have ever built.
J. Daryl Byler