I believe Rev. Owens makes some good points here as he discusses the importance of not alienating segments of your congregation through your preaching, while not watering down the truth. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/faithbased/2017/02/an_episcopal_priest_on_writing_his_first_sermon_of_the_trump_presidency.html
Thanks for raising this issue, Alex. Actually, darn you for raising this issue since it reminds me of my experience of referencing the refugee/immigration issue in my sermon last Sunday!
My current series is called "Practicing Jesus," in which I'm examining the everyday dimensions of Jesus' teachings. My focus last Sunday was the great commandment and the one Jesus said was like it - i.e. love God; love neighbor. In large part due to the Bible study I did in preparation for one of my posts in these forums, in my sermon I chose to reference the refugee/immigration issue through the lens of Leviticus 19.33-34 and its call to love foreigners as yourself.
Following worship, one of the people new to our church told me she had read in her Bible that morning how "a wall had been rebuilt." I knew she was talking about the book of Nehemiah. I also knew that she was connecting Nehemiah's wall with President Trump's proposed wall along the U.S./Mexico border. And I also knew that she had not walked through the line to say hello to me as she always had. Pressure sensors began a low hum.
I got her attention before she and her husband left. At the end of our brief lobby chat, which was friendly and respectful, she said "But you're right," a comment of uncertain meaning about my sermon's engagement with the Leviticus 19 text.
I shot her an email during the week affirming her practice of reading the Bible and her efforts to connect what she read in Scripture with her everyday life. I invited her to contact me if she wanted to talk more about any of the issues that we each had raised. Since neither she nor her husband responds to email messages, it hasn't surprised me that she has yet to respond to my message.
In case you or others want know and possibly comment on the way I approached the immigration issue, here's the relevant part of last week's sermon (the "job description" mention came from the sermon's introduction, which set up "Love God; love neighbor" as the job description of Jesus followers):
Our nation is currently in a pointed, passionate, fiery debate over immigrants and refugees. We could talk like politicians about that issue - and bicker and spit at each other - but we’re not politicians. We’re Jesus followers. What’s our rule? Love God; love neighbor. I don’t care about your politics on that issue. I care about your job description. Demand that politicians treat refugees and immigrants the way that loves them as we love ourselves.
I am straying into the partisan divide, I know, but I found these verses last night. You can’t tell me you don’t think they belong in the conversation. Leviticus 19.33-34....
Again, I don’t care about your politics. I care about your job description. You have a right to any opinion about any subject. But as a follower of Jesus you have a responsibility to conform your opinions to these four words - love God; love neighbor.
Who’s our neighbor? Ask Jesus. He’ll probably tell you the parable of the good Samaritan. Who was the neighbor in that story? The wounded Jew. For whom was the wounded Jew a neighbor? The Samaritan who tended to him, took him to care, and provided for the cost of that care. The Samaritan loved the foreigner - his enemy - as himself. The Samaritan knew his job description. Make sure you know and follow yours.