As a Lutheran I always look at what Popes do with a certain amount of suspicion. As a human being I cannot help but be impressed. As a Christian I get frustrated that in all the footage I watch and all the speeches I listen to, I never hear the word “Jesus”. Popes having been going on about the poor for a long time (kind of like Democrats) and yet as Jesus said the “poor we will always have with us”. That quote is from John 12 who gives us some background. Judas, the disciple who would betray Jesus, was mad because pricey perfume had been poured on Jesus head and Judas said the money spent on the perfume should have been spent on the poor. Then John tells us he said that because he kept the disciple’s money box and pilfered from it.
The pope was on about pilfering and corruption as well. He called out the government of Uhuru Kenyatta.
He went on about “tribalism” and asked everyone to hold hands and remember that they were all Kenyans.
He called on folks to respect the young and he spoke against abortion.
From what I saw it was a wonderful trip and he touched many issues of import. It would be well for us all to pay attention to a lot of what he said.
We have been working with Project 24 for about 10 years. We have seen some so upset about money spent for the poor they have stirred up tribal unrest and accused all sorts of people of corruption. They have even come to the attention of the Kenyan government and have interfered in the internal workings and elections of a partner church. They have sent people to Kenya without a call and accused others of “duping little old grandmas in North Dakota”. I would like to tell them that grandmas in North Dakota are not easily duped but conversation with these folks is like talking to the proverbial wall. They have been on an “excellent adventure” around the country introducing an “anti -Bishop” as the real Bishop of the Kenyan Church. I wonder what money box the expenses of that trip come from? I will not go so far as to accuse anyone of duping grandmas though. Many of the problems that they berate and lament in the Kenyan church have been created by them. It is a pretty good tactic. Create dissension and confusion and frustration and then blast the resulting confusion as corruption and power struggles.
We can learn a lot from Jesus as well as from the Pope who needs to mention Him once and a while. He was mercy incarnate and never denied help to the poor and the needy. Jesus declared by His actions as well as His words that God’s concern for the poor and the orphaned and the widow is not just an Old Testament thing. Jesus taught us that whenever an act of love is done there will always be a Judas in the background taking pot shots at it.