Dear President Trump:
Today’s Daily Lectionary readings are about crossroads – those junctions in our lives where we must choose which road to travel.
In the Old Testament reading, the prophet tells of a king who comes “humble and riding on a donkey” — in sharp contrast to kings who typically rode proudly on powerful war horses. Ironically, this humble king “shall command peace to the nations” and “his dominion shall be from sea to sea.” (Zechariah 9:9-12) In the Gospel reading, the blind and the lame flock to Jesus for healing, but the religious leaders reject him even though they see the amazing things Jesus does. (Matthew 21:12-17)
Today is the 40th and last day of the healing justice fast that I began on Ash Wednesday. I have no way of knowing whether you read any of the letters I tweeted to you and your advisors each morning.
Mr. President, in reading your book, Trump: The Art of the Deal, you remind me in so many ways of a man who lived 2,000 years ago — Saul of Tarsus. Big ideas, brash, passionate and doggedly persistent in pursuit of his vision.
When I would wake at night during this fast, my prayer for you has been that you would have a Damascus Road encounter like the one Saul experienced. Saul’s dynamic energies were misfocused until he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus. It changed his life. And his considerable gifts became channeled in ways that changed the world for the better. Poignantly, your life this week also has had a growing connection with Damascus.
There are two roads that one in your influential position must choose between.
The first is a road of domination, strong-arming and power politics. In the volatile global environment we now inhabit, this road will most likely lead to a nuclear showdown or World War III. And the domestic political context will be so acidic that it will be impossible to effectively govern this diverse nation. Almost certainly, the road of domination will not make America great.
The second road is one of collaboration, consensus building, humility and service. This road offers a chance to bring healing justice to our nation and inspiration to the world. This is the road that Jesus said will certainly make individuals and nations great.
Mr. President, which road will you choose?
J. Daryl Byler