I’m a major Beatles fan, but one of their songs that really gets on my nerves is “The Ballad of John and Yoko.” For those who don’t know, John Lennon took a irresistible musical groove and put inane lyrics over it about his marriage to Yoko Ono and the headlines they grabbed with their bizarre behavior. The two lines of the chorus demonstrate how highly Lennon thought of himself:
You know it ain’t easy. You know how hard it can be.
The way things are going, they’re gonna crucify me.
Yes, John Lennon compared the media circus over his and Yoko Ono’s marriage and peace protest stunts to Jesus on the cross.
But Lennon isn’t the only one to make such a dramatic, overblown comparison. Hillary Clinton’s pastor, United Methodist City Society Executive Director Rev. Bill Shillady, is publishing a book of the devotions and sermons he emailed to the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate. Strong for a Moment Like This, which releases August 15, includes this gem of a devotion from the day after the election, when Shillady compares Clinton’s loss to the eve of the most important moment in history. Here’s a taste:
Today, you are experiencing a Friday. Your Friday is what happened in the last few weeks and last night in the tragic loss. But Sunday is coming!
Jesus completed the excruciating task of giving up his life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. It was his faith and belief in his heavenly Father, that gave him the grace and peace to submit to Friday. While death had seemingly won, Jesus knew better. When he said, “It is finished,” it wasn’t meant to be a statement of concession. It was a declaration that a new day was on the way.
Friday is finished. Sunday is coming. Death will be shattered. Hope will be restored. But first, we must live through the darkness and seeming hopelessness of Friday.
You know one of my favorite sayings is “God doesn’t close one door without opening another, but it can be hell in the hallway.” My sister Hillary. You, our nation, our world is experiencing a black Friday. Our hope is that Sunday is coming. But it might well be hell for a while.
Good Lord. I’m sure losing a presidential election is tough, but Jesus’ disciples were devastated because they thought that the Messiah they served was dead. They thought the ministry to which they had devoted the last three years of their lives was in vain. They thought that God’s work of redemption ended at the cross. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton lost an election.
Apples to oranges much, Rev. Shillady?
Shillady also believes that Clinton will now pursue some sort of leadership in the Methodist church. He told The Atlantic that he believes that the fomer First Lady/Senator/Secretary of State has much to offer the church.
“Given her depth of knowledge of the Bible and her experience of caring for people and loving people, she’d make a great pastor,” Shillady told The Atlantic. “No, she probably won’t go to seminary … no, she probably won’t pursue an official lay position in the Methodist church, like deaconess.”
He added, “I think it would be more of … her guest preaching at some point. We have a long history of lay preachers in the United Methodist Church.”
Don’t get me wrong: I sincerely hope that Clinton’s faith in Jesus is sincere, but I have a difficult time imagining hearing those cadences with which she speaks delivering a believable message of hope and redemption from the pulpit. I don’t think I could bear to listen to her speak on any topic, much less preach a sermon.
Then again, I would also hope that if she’s a sincere Christian, Hillary Clinton would bristle at her pastor using the death of Jesus – God’s Son, the Messiah, the redeemer – as a metaphor for an election loss.