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Dear President Trump:

Today’s Daily Lectionary readings are filled with irony.

In the Old Testament reading, it is those who are exiled to Babylon who will be restored to the land, while those who remain at home will be driven from the land. (Jeremiah 24:1-10) In the Epistle reading, Paul says that many outsiders (Gentiles) will have a right relationship with God because of their faith, while many insiders (Israel) will fail to have a right relationship because they depend on their own efforts. (Romans 9:19-33) In the Gospel reading, it is a man born blind who sees and understands who Jesus is, while the religious leaders cannot see because they get tripped up over the fact that Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath. (John 9:1-17)

Holy Land Institute for the Deaf (Salt, Jordan) -- Muhammad and Brent

Muhammad, who is both deaf and blind, taught us much about the beauty of life (Holy Land Institute for the Deaf – Salt, Jordan)

All these texts are reminders that God works in surprising ways. Reading them makes me wonder how often we get stuck in old ways of thinking and imaging the solutions to challenges we face as a nation today.

Mr. President…

  • What if the way to win in Washington is for both parties to be humbler – recognizing that they need each other’s wisdom — rather than being more crafty and forceful?
  • What if our national security is tied, not to further boosting our military or building walls, but to being more generous and strategic with foreign assistance?
  • What if creating jobs for Americans is resolved, in part, by welcoming immigrants – many of whom start businesses in the United States?
  • What if the way to way to increase energy independence is by conserving energy consumption rather than by extracting more oil and gas and using more than our fair share of the world’s resources?

Author Alice Walker, who is blind in her right eye because of a childhood accident, has reflected: “On a spiritual level, it’s as though with my sighted eye I see what’s before me, and with my unsighted eye I see what’s hidden. It’s illuminated life more than darkened it.”

May we, too, be illuminated to see that which for too long has been hidden to us.


J. Daryl Byler