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I was so proud of our children during both of our Children's Sermons last Sunday. In each, I had the largest, heaviest child lay down while the others gather around and gently try to lift him a few inches off the ground. The first time the child was instructed to relax. It was difficult for the children to lift the dead weight. The second time I instructed him to stiffen his body. They found it easier to lift him when he was stiff as a board.

My point was that Jesus' "yoke," like the stiff wooden yoke put across two oxen, is easier and lighter when everyone pulls together. In a sense, I used the children as pawns to make a learning point. It was well-received by the children who understood and agreed to be used for the object lesson. I am so proud of our kids for helping me so willingly.

I am not proud of our President and Congress.

Right now hundreds of thousands of federal workers and their families are being used as pawns, and not in a constructive manner. While churches are using food pantries to assist families being vitally affected by this historic shutdown, the FBI Agents Association speaks of its agents' growing inability to be effective in their work, and the U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz testifies, "Our USCG members sail across the world to protect U.S. national interests while their loved ones cope with financial challenges and no pay at home."

This political game of chess using citizens as pawns is immoral, unconscionable and unjust. Out of love, we Christians must speak out loudly to all our representatives to remind them that for the innocent who are suffering, this is no game. On Sunday, our children exemplified the good we can do when we pull together. Surely, we adults must do the same for the love of Christ.

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Matt Gaston
Lead Pastor