The Common Good

Joining the #FaithfulFilibuster from Des Moines

People around the country have taken notice of the #FaithfulFilibuster and want to lend their voices. From Pastor Sarah Trone Garriot in Des Moine, Iowa: "Since we couldn't be in Washington to join you, a few of us pastors got together and visited our Iowa Representative's office." 

Photo courtesy Sarah Trone Garriot.
An Ecumenical group of pastors and lay leaders in the greater Des Moines area. Photo courtesy Sarah Trone Garriot.

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After reading through select Bible verses, the group read the following statement: 

To the Honorable Representative Tom Latham:

We believe that the recent government shutdown is not just a failure of the process of governance.  This shutdown is born of the failure to follow Jesus’ commandment to “love our neighbor.” (Luke 10:25-37)  

We have witnessed hard hearts as our elected representatives squander their time and energy to attack one another and create failure.

We have witnessed our elected representatives acting without mercy when it comes the poor, the vulnerable, the sick, and the stranger.

As Americans, we are at our best when we come together to work for the common good. This shutdown, and the divisive behavior that gave birth to it, is an insult to our nation. We can do better.

As Christians, we believe that God calls us into community to show love to our neighbors in need: feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, sheltering the poor, protecting the weak, and welcoming the stranger. This bitter impasse has left our nation unable to fulfill Jesus’ command to love the neighbors who are already suffering. At the same time, this shutdown has shoved aside millions more neighbors, pushing them right up to the edge of financial disaster.  God demands better.      

We pray that you, our elected representative, will hear Jesus’ command to love your neighbor, and will live it without exception.

We pray that our elected representatives will remember that their neighbor is not just their party member, but the person across the aisle, as well as the furloughed national monument groundskeeper, the devastated cattle ranchers in South Dakota, the Head Start student’s parents, the toddler receiving WIC nutrition aid, the struggling small business owner, the cancer patients praying for the NIH to open, the countless others who worry and wonder, and these Christian pastors praying for you in your Des Moines Office today.

Zechariah 7:9-10: Thus says the LORD of hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.

Romans 12:9-21: Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." No, "if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Luke 10:25-37" Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

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