As I was getting ready to come to church early Sunday morning, the anchor of the news show that I had on as background noise announced that “Christians all over the country were going to be hearing sermons about gun violence in church today.” I didn’t get the memo. But even if I had, I can assure you that Sunday morning worship at Northway would still have been about Jesus and not about guns.
I’m not saying that our commitment to Christ doesn’t shape our personal responses to urgent social questions like gun violence. It does. And I’m not saying that I don’t have some settled personal convictions of my own about gun control. I do. And I’m not even saying that there shouldn’t be conversations within the community of faith about how we should arrive at and then act on our social and political conclusions faithfully. We should. What I am saying is that to turn the weekly worship service and the proclamation of the Word into a rally for any particular social cause or concern with the hoped-for outcome to be agreement on the conclusion to which the preacher has given voice is an abuse of the pulpit and an abdication of the call.