Blurring the divided lines

Grace and peace to you

My sisters and brothers in Christ

As we struggle to continue to be in relationship

As we strive to live out what the Creator God calls us to

Through the one who gave of Himself, so that we may have life

Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Lord.

Amen

(pause)

Once more, the holidays are upon us

And we are reminded of the reasons to be thankful

But recently it seems

Our hearts and minds have been divided to the point

That being immersed in the beloved community

Is almost an insurmountable feat, leaping across the abyss

(pause)

The other evening, President Obama addressed the nation

Addressing the raw, gnawing issue of immigration

That surrounds our fellow sisters and brothers in Christ

Fleeing with sadness in their hearts

Their homeland, which is riddled with violence

Hoping for safety, peace

And a chance to be seen

As an essential, equal part of humanity

(pause)

President Obama put before us his action plans

Hoping this will bring an end to the anxieties many of us have

Still, there are those who are blinded with fear about these,

Our brothers and sisters in Christ

Whose hymns and rhythms we enjoy in worship,

Whose language has become embedded

In the fabric of this country

Simply because they come

from the wrong side of the border wall

(Pause)

Clergy and seminarians alike

Are preparing to gather in sacred, ecumenical places

In anticipation of a grand jury verdict to come

Regarding Michael Brown

Praying for calm, for peace, for justice and for closure

For a community that has been forgotten

Because of their socio-economic status

Because their presence is a grim reminder

When the oppressive forces in this world triumphed

Leading some of the beloved community to make decisions

Breaking their bond

With the Creator God

(pause)

But, there are those who chose to mock, to blame

To ignore the cries of suffering under domination

That these lost tribes of people daily lament

These, who are also Children of the Most High

Because they are on the wrong side of the law

And have always been on the wrong side of the fence

(pause)

So where do we find ourselves in this Gospel text?

(pause)

And do we consider the risen Christ, the King

Our King

Or do we merely see Him as a figurehead only-

Because following Christ’s commandments

Potentially places us in uncomfortable situations

Where the “good fences” that divide us

As sheep and goats

Are destroyed.

Does Our God, Our Redeemer

Our Healer

Deliberately

Divide us up into these categories

Of Good and evil,

Knowing as human beings

We will fail,

because we are not perfect?

(pause)

This world seems so alienated from anything holy

As if there are no traces of God’s reign here and now

And so we draw the lines

Removing us from being in relationship

With our brothers and sisters in Christ

We mark and accuse one another

As being a “goat”

Because by our human standards

They have not done enough, or loved enough

Or protested enough

For I was hungry and you gave me no food..

I was a stranger and you did not welcome me…”

(pause)

That sometimes we fail to recognize

That our fellow sisters and brothers in Christ

Are wrestling with whether or not

The presence of immigrants threatens their livelihood

Or threatens perhaps, the miseducation perpetuated

By this world through our fears

Of not having enough

And of afraid of admitting that they question their faith

And that Christ is not coming quick enough

To heal us, make us whole

So who are the goats, truly?

(pause)

That sometimes we fail to recognize

That our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ

Are lost in the chaos

Of miseducation that was poured into their elders

That this world twisted their ideals

And they could not see the reflection of Christ

And cannot see the reflection of Christ

In those whose skin color, or whose language

Or ways of worshipping God, the Creator of ALL

Perhaps is different

And that they yearn and long to take that step

Over those lines that divide us, as people of faith.

So who truly are the goats?

(pause)

Truly I tell you,

just as you did it to one of the least of these

who are members of my family,

 you did it to me”

(pause)

Are we truly ready to serve as sheep

Welcoming,

Serving

Being in community

with those whose journey is different from ours?

Are we truly ready to live into what Jesus Christ

Teaches us

Through God’s Word?

(pause)

There is Good News

Because even through our lamenting

Through our tears

God affirms God’s Love for us

God shows us everyday

That Jesus Christ walks with us

Because God states God will not leave us,

Nor forsake us

Even as this world causes us to weep

And to be suspicious

And to walk away from this sacred community

Because we can not see Christ in anything or anyone

But the Good News, beloved-

Is that Jesus Christ is here and now

Continuing to teach us

Through those who are deemed lowly

(pause)

That Christ comes and remains with those that perhaps

Are not on our side of the fence

Or the wall

Or the aisle

(pause)

That Christ chooses to settle Himself among the vulnerable

Those who are without homes

Without economic status

Without too, having strong faith

Without hope

Because Christ comes to those who are vulnerable

You, and me

Because the Good News of Jesus Christ is that Christ reigns

And Christ will reign

Gathering us up, all of us, God’s Creation

Removing us from the goats in the world-

Goats of greed

of oppressive laws, that grow as thorns

of hatred

of systemic failures of a system that only goal

Is the breakdown of the beloved community

(pause)

Because it is through Jesus Christ, the Son of God

God who has the power to create new life

God who has the power to bind us together in love

God who freely gives us God’s Grace and Mercy

God who has the power to come among us

Who Loves us unconditionally

That He came to us

In the form of a small, helpless infant

Jesus Christ, who allowed Himself to be sacrificed

Upon a cruel cross

Came into GLORY through a scandalous death

Given through God, Our Creator

To shatter death

To disrupt and erase the dividing lines that keep us

From being in relationship with the Creator

From being in relationship with one another.

(pause)

So, what will we share around the table this Thanksgiving

About what we are thankful for?

Thankful for the fact that despite our shortcomings,

God, our Redeemer sees us as all of God’s beloved

Thanks Be To God

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