Prayer Service at the Hamilton County Republican Party for the Uninsured


Luke 10:29-37

29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 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. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 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. 35 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.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Who is my neighbor? Who is Todd Gardenhire’s neighbor? All people deserve equal access and acceptance in our society. All people beautiful, tragic, horrid, petty, remarkable, brilliant, simplistic, epic, ribald, serious and all too finite deserve equal acceptance. That is not what we see currently in the state of Tennessee on a variety of issue Voting rights, immigration, fair housing, education… Yet, the unequal footing of our most vulnerable friends, family, co-workers and neighbors to health care is one of the most nefarious. It is one where the cruel political calculations of a handful of people have jeopardized the lives of hundreds of thousands. Who knows, maybe Sen. Gardenhire will be challenged by a Tea party opponent on the left and sees this as a political calculation with people’s lives, maybe he really buys that thwarting a democratic vote on healthcare was the right thing to do politically. We care little about the political ramifications for Todd and care more about salvation of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, family and the souls of the politicians who seem so callous to them.

When the Disciple Peter wanted to exclude a Gentile from the new movement of people Following the Christ he was given a vision. The vision’s clear message was that he was to accept the person he considered unworthy of Christ. “I can’t do this because it is unclean. My ideology will not allow me to cross that line!” Peter tells the divine. “How can you call unclean what I have made clean?” Peter is asked by the divine. Just like Peter, we have a vision today. We proclaim with Peter after his revelation from God, “We know now that God shows no favoritism!”

God does not favor those who can afford a pricey Merlot over cheap canned soda. God does not favor the one in sanctuaries of limestone and oaken hewed pews over those who line up in mismatched tiled halls for free bowls of soup. God does not show favoritism for those who live in mansions on Mountains over those who live in trailer parks in valleys. God does not favor those who invoke her name consistently in public for their reputation over those who whisper “Help me!” to her in their despair. God does not favor a priest, Levite, deacon, or Elder over a Samaritan heretic who stops to heal. God does not favor one whose job as wealth manager give his family the safety of top tier health insurance over one who struggles with harrowing decisions of choosing care for health, home, job or food. Nor does God show favoritism toward those who believe the solutions to lives problems can miraculously be overcome by market forces over those who believe our political leaders are pawns for moneyed interest lining their PACs, wallets and political coffers while strangling action toward a common good.

I know now that God shows no favoritism. When that vision of society has been revealed then there becomes no doubt of each and everyone of our Samaritan callings. We can not pass on the other side of the road ignoring the plight of our neighbors unless we are to be called lacking Mercy by Jesus Christ. We can not see anyone as not worthy of a healing touch. Whether that touch be from Jesus, a nurse, doctor, emergency room, politician or corporate interest. God will call to account all those who tip the scales in their favor and they will be judged harshly in the light of justice. We will no longer look to the market forces to inform our moral judgements. People matter  are accepted and are our neighbors. Our neighbors are where our moral compass is set, it is the only sure direction. Thanks be to God.

Knowing our equality this day, let us come together in prayer.

After each petition please respond with: Hear our prayer.

Today we come to petition you
knowing that there are others
who hold the fate of 280,000 people
in their hands.
Bend their wills,
melt their hardened hearts,
turn them toward mercy.

Lord, hear our prayers.

To our neighbors College Hill
who have untreated conditions
afraid to see a doctor or nurse
because they know that the cost
will jeopardize their ability
to pay for their housing.
They put off medical intervention
sometimes making their situation worse.
Give them relief this day.

Lord, hear our prayers

For those in Cleveland
who choose between a meal
or the medication, procedure, or
hospital visit we pray
that they may have a way
where politicians have made no way.

Lord, hear our prayers

For those in Highland Park
that know that to miss a day of work
will not compensate for the cost
of seeing a doctor.
They work through the pain
until they find themselves in
an emergency room
unable to pay or ignore pain.
Remedy their suffering.

Lord, hear our prayers.

For cancer, diabetes, stitches, infections
heart disease, strokes, tonsillitis,
hepatitis, flu, food poisoning, Pneumonia,
strep throat, Mononucleosis
To be treated the same for someone
of Todd Gardenhire’s tax bracket,
as well as, our friends behind
the counter at McDonalds.

Lord, hear our prayers.

Bend the Republicans who hold the poor’s fate
toward the justice they deserve.
Melt their hearts so that they may
turn toward mercy for the vulnerable.
Sate their fears of elections cycles
and tea party challenges to their seats
so that they may do the right thing
for people that you love and accept.

Lord, hear our prayers.

Do not let them turn a blind eye,
close their ears to lobbyists,
help them ignore red shirted hypocrites
bussed into the halls of power
by an organization
whose only meeting for the year
was to stop healthcare.

Lord, hear our prayers.

Most of all save Todd Gardenhire’s soul.
Help him to see that his positions
are not based on the best for all,
but politically calculations.
Save the soul of republicans
who want to deny the possibility of health
to those you love.

Lord, hear our prayers.

We know you are good,
even in the depth of death,
you are there.
You claim to burn hot for the poor,
to side with the oppressed.
We pray you might
rekindle your defense
of those we know
need intervention today.


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