This past week the world has hung with some trepidation on Donald Trump delivering his inauguration speech. It is expected to provide some clues as to how he will operate and what his focus as President will be.
Marcus Borg, in his book Reading the Bible Again for the First Time , suggests that we should give similar weighting to the inaugural statements Jesus makes in the various gospels. He suggests that they, like a presidential inauguration speech, point to the character of the ministry of Jesus as understood by the gospel writer.
This coming Sunday, the Sunday following Donald Trump’s inauguration speech congregations in liturgical churches in the USA, Australia and throughout the world will listen to Jesus’ inauguration speech as recorded in the Gospel according to Matthew.
This is part of what they will hear:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
on them light has shined.
Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah as he declares his ministry intention.
The darkness that hung over the people of Jesus’ day was the Roman Empire. The Jewish people were under occupation; exploited and intimidated. The upper echelons of Jewish society were in cahoots with the imperial authorities. They were dark days indeed.
Proclaiming, living and working towards the alternate way of living that God desired would lead to Jesus being executed.
The church is called to proclaim and live the way of life that Jesus saw as bringing light to a darkened world. His enlightened world was characterised by human flourishing, peace and justice.
Jesus’ inauguration speech provides the standard against which all leaders, Donald Trump included, need to be measured.