words hurt, The Word Heals

Grace and Peace to you,

My sisters and brothers in Christ

With welcoming the infusing of the Holy Spirit

Glued to our being

So we have no other recourse

Than to share the Living Word

Of forgiveness and of truth

Amen

(pause)

“I Love You”

“We have Missed You!

“Welcome!”

“So Glad To See You!”

“God Bless You”

“Peace of God Be With You.”

(pause)

These are words of welcome

Of Healing

Of Agape

Of Hope

These are words that we all need to hear

Especially when we struggle with the blues

So we are able to breathe fully and deeply

Reminding us of God’s Presence

When life blossoms into its foulest

Throwing a wrench into our journey

Robbing us of things most treasured

There is power in the spoken Word

More and more along this journey,

We need to hear a Word

Affirming our path

Asserting our essential nature

Encouraging us to be in relationship

(pause)

But we are also painfully aware,

The power of the spoken word

Can seamlessly slice into us

Inflicting the deepest wound

To which sometimes we never recover

“You’re stupid!”

“Worthless!

“We don’t want your kind!”

“You’re Hopeless!”

“God hates YOU!”

(pause)

Time and again

 “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father,

and with it we curse human beings,

who have been made in God’s likeness”

God’s Word

Meant for liberation

In humanity’s hands

Has been fashioned into a tool

Of Annihilation

Leaving the entire body of Christ, broken

Useless

Damaged

(share with them the class that I took at McCormick Seminary and how damaging God’s Word has been used to chain people to the ugliness of domestic violence and sexual abuse; where pastoral leaders have perhaps unwillingly sent people back into harmful situations based on what it says here in the Bible.)

God’s Word

Has been twisted to fit into the small box that we place God in

Because it is difficult to face the truth of God’s Word

That Jesus Christ

“.. himself is before all things, and in Him all things hold together”

“Who do people say I am?”

Who is Jesus Christ to you, beloved?

How have you encountered Jesus?

How did this ancient faith community encounter Jesus?

Perhaps it was reflected in their words as they shared with others

Jesus is-

Son of Man

Son of God

Jesus is

John the Baptist

A prophet

And still some saw Jesus as-

A blasphemer

Heretic

Peter uses this interesting word, when Jesus inquires of him

“You are the Messiah”

(pause)

What does Messiah mean?

Messiah meant anointed one,

Which can mean Blessed, Successor, crowned

Or even King

Which means supreme, royal, Absolute

Which means unconquerable, powerful

I wonder how many of the disciples followed Jesus

Because they saw Jesus as King

Who would vanquish all of the wrongs that had happened

And raise up their long suffering people to an elevated status?

But when Jesus Christ begins to testify, to teach

To proclaim and prepare those who followed Him

With what was about to happen to His life,

This was not the victory march that any of them,

Even us

Are expecting

Even today many use the word King Jesus

Jesus Christ sits on a throne

Jesus will judge those who have been unfaithful

Jesus will make those who are sinners pay for their unfaithfulness

(pause)

That is the perception of many sisters and brothers in Christ

Jesus, Strong and Mighty

Gives us everything we desire

As long we stay on the straight and narrow, right?

But Jesus witnesses that God, Our Father,

Our Redeemer

Meets us in our suffering

Our sorrow

Our loss

When we are exposed and open

To this world.

Jesus

Is to give up His Life

Upon the Cross

For all of our sins

For forgiveness

Regardless of our faith wavers

Or how much we give the appearance of doing the right things

THAT is how the Kingdom of God

Will conquer this world

THAT is how God manifests God’s self

Into the God that we desperately need

Through the Cross

Through the experience of death itself!

(pause)

Peter was having none of this-

“Jesus what are you saying?

Dude, come on, you promised us triumph and success and glory!”

This is not going to motivate anyone

This is not what any of us signed up for.”

(pause)

If any want to become my followers,

let them deny themselves

and take up their cross and follow me.”

What is Jesus charging, challenging the disciples

And us, with?

For those who want to save their life will lose it,

and those who lose their life for my sake,

 and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”

(pause)

How confusing the disciples must have been

Hearing Jesus’s words

Jesus are you saying we must stick to this path,

That we should not foster relationships

Enjoy fellowship with our sisters and brothers

Not to sing, to dance, to love?

Never to embrace Creation

Never to fully live our lives here and now?

Should we just run to Calvary and wait for you to return there?

(pause)

Here too, these same scriptures

Have been used to condone and excuse abuse

We are NOT called to bear our burdens alone

Carrying our shame, our sins

To be silence about the unforgiveable

which is perpetuated upon us

THAT IS NOT what the risen Christ calls us to-

Because the Good News is that CHRIST ALONE

Bore the weight of the suffering of this world

Of us, beloved

Upon the Cross

And Jesus SPOKE A POWERFUL WORD

FATHER FORGIVE THEM, for they know not what they do

IN THAT MOMENT, Jesus Christ was TRANSFORMED

FROM DEATH TO LIFE

And we beloved, were transformed

FROM CONDEMED TO FORGIVEN

(pause)

So when Jesus calls us to take up the cross, and follow Him

Jesus is calling us to be immersed in this world

To give of ourselves

To actually reach into that ditch

The side of the road

Into that dirty space

Across the fence

And bless someone with words of LOVE

“God is with you,

What can I do to ease your pain, your burden?”

To fight for those who have been forgotten

To stand up and say WORDS OF TRUTH

“NO MORE will you abuse, my brother, this elder, this child”

“NO MORE will you toss aside this person

Because of their status

Because of who they are”

“NO MORE will you deny these people, this tribe

With the right to LIVE,

Because you think God’s Word condemns them”

NO MORE WILL WE ALLOW GOD’s WORD TO BE MISSPOKEN

WE ARE CALLED TO SPEAK TRUTH TO LIFE

(pause)

And even though that road will be hard, rough

That we will be ridiculed

Because we do not feed into the harsh words of this world

Because we believe in a God of Grace and Mercy

Because we cling to the Cross just as Jesus Did

Because THROUGH THE CROSS

God Reveals God’s SELF

And God’s NEVER ENDING LOVE for US,

All of US, beloved

(pause)

Words hurt

We as humanity have still not learned

how our words can hurt one another-

But GOD’S WORD,

Jesus Christ

God’s Word heals

Spoken from the Cross

“It. Is. Finished.”

Pain-Finished

Rejection-Finished

Injustice-Finished

Oppression-Finished

Evil-Finished

Death-FINISHED

(pause)

Thanks Be to God.

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