Pastor in the Times

In the Washington Times: “Find Christ in the least of these,” a sermon by the Rev. Dr. Jim Somerville, pastor of my church, First Baptist DC (and a co-officiant at our wedding, I might add).

He doesn’t want us to treat Him any differently than we treat anyone else. He wants us to treat everyone else as we would treat Him. While He is the child of God in a unique sense, there is another sense in which every human being is a child of God. Part of our calling as Christians is to see that, to look for the worth and the dignity of every person, to find in that filthy, stinking wretch behind the Dumpster something of Christ Himself. Some of the saints of our tradition have done that. Francis of Assisi did it. Mother Teresa of Calcutta did it. And you and I can do it. But it will take the regular exercise of our religious imagination.

I was rather surprised to find the so-called “Moonie Times,” known for its conservative reportage, printing something by a pastor from a Baptist church with a somewhat more left-leaning political and doctrinal stance. On the other hand it’s nothing anti-cult — a basic Christian message of love for the unloved and service to the poor in Christ’s name. There’s a slight bit of ecumenism added to the mix, which can’t but help the “Unification” agenda, but at the point of that thought I suppose I’m cynically reading too much into the context, and they recently did print UCC and non-denominational sermons as well.

The more unique aspect of the “weekly sermons” feature is that explicitly Christian language is used, without pulling punches on references to Jesus and the Bible. Perhaps it’s to be expected of a newspaper whose audience is primarily conservative Washington Republicans, but if this is a case of preaching to the choir, why not go all the way and pick, say, Mark Dever or Lon Solomon? Or is there a dearth of right-appealing pastors in the Washington area, so they’ll take any pastor’s sermons they can get?

Or maybe I really am being too cynical, and I should just be thankful that the Word is preached by my pastor in the news.