The Question of Jesus

They were waiting,

Anticipating

This transformative birth

An emergence of liberation,

A shattering of chains

No longer ashamed

Of who they were

And whose they belonged to.

(pause)

They were waiting

For the presence of the One

Who would shift the atmosphere

And flooding into their lives

FINALLY

The Kingdom of God

(pause)

We are still waiting,

(slight pause)

And yet we embrace this time

Of thoughtful reflection

Meditation

Of prayers of joy

Hope

And

Towards

Peace.

We know what is coming

Who is coming

Jesus Christ.

(pause)

It’s all so clear to us, right?

We are sometimes so rooted in our faith,

That we can’t even fathom

Questioning about Jesus.

(pause)

We shouldn’t be too surprised

The questions,

The doubting

Coming from those who are stumbling for truth

The truth and the reality of the presence of Jesus Christ.

They are still waiting

(pause)

Not questions from our Jewish siblings,

Who are still waiting,

For the One

(pause)

Not from our Muslim siblings,

Who honor Jesus

As one of a most respected

Holy

And

Beloved

Teacher

But,

(pause)

From those who struggle

How any difference had been made

Because of this miraculous birth?

(pause)

And these questions aren’t from mere aversion

To religion or faith-

But from the depths of humanity,

Agony

And

Sorrow

(tell of the stories of the people, the first peoples, who are bound by their duty practicing stewardship of those resources from the Creator, The Great Spirit, Has given to them; For them to protect the land, The water, The buffalo, One another and yet, From the stories of seminarians, Some who were trained as trauma counselors, And Pastors, Some who are veterans, about the environment at the camps, About how they, our Native siblings, and others gathered in peace, But 24/7 helicopters and spotlights scrutinized and focused on the camps Even as they gather for interfaith prayer. And the peaceful protests Like the one in the Bismarck Shopping Mall A group of people gathering, sitting and praying even attempting to have conversations with those police officers and met with brute force and violence with no provocation.)

Would any of us be surprised then,

That these officers identify them as faithful church going folk

But this,

Is this what Jesus calls us to?

“Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”

This question is a cry for many,

A cry of those who are shocked and pained

At how hellish this world has become

That the right to live our lives

As the Creator calls us

That liberation is out of our hands,

That instead we are pushed against the proverbial wall

Fighting,

Clawing our way out

For mere survival

Each and every day,

Which is in no way living.

(pause)

This same world

who confesses with its lips

Of its religiosity

And shuts out the prophetic

Healing Word of Jesus Christ,

That commands to love one another

Regardless of whom we love,

Or where our journey has brought us,

Or our status

Or how even we worship the Creator God

(pause)

This question about Jesus

Comes after we, as people of faith,

Maybe would confess that

We too,

Have wondered,

After experiencing and witnessing

All of the beautiful,

Mysterious

Expression of how humanity communes,

Communicates with God,

If this is the path for us.

(pause)

And we definitely can confess,

That this, is uncomfortable for us to speak of

Because many of us will proclaim our belief

In Jesus Christ

Came from being born in the FAITH!

And yet,

If we are honest,

We travel back within those places,

Excavating deep

Where we have buried the moments,

Of wanting to walk away,

Gotten angry with Jesus,

Shutting out the Light of God

Especially when it has been too hard,

Life has been too hard

Too painful to breathe.

We will never confess publicly

The times,

We are the ones asking Jesus,

Are you the one who is to come,

or are we to wait for another?”

This is our lament,

Especially when have given up,

Felt trapped by a world who doesn’t care

(tell the story of the most recent pastoral visit of a woman who came to my attention through other pastoral colleague a year ago who had needed a pastor to visit, homebound and wracked under illness. This year she contacted me asking me to come once more, after her attempts to engage a local church denomination had failed. She had been a member of this denomination for 30 plus years-and had been extremely active until her health issues became overwhelming.)

She was in a place,

Where she didn’t pray to God anymore,

She was in a place,

Where she was asking Jesus the same question

“Are you the one who is to come,

or are we to wait for another?”

She needed reassurance,

That God had not abandoned her,

She had the need to see Jesus

(pause)

Our brother John however,

Never had to raise the question of Jesus, right?

He had been in the presence of Jesus,

And perhaps that emboldened John,

Who seemingly didn’t care how he rattled the authority

Who was rattled at the message he preached,

Of Repentance,

Of Changing one’s self

Of turning towards God

Of submitting themselves at Jesus’s feet,

To follow Him

And yet,

The Empire

The Rabbinic leaders

The Pharisees and Sadducees

Revolted against God

Were angered by John’s message of change

And suddenly, John

Found himself imprisoned

And perhaps in that midnight hour,

Wondered too,

If he could trust this Jesus

“Are you the one who is to come,

or are we to wait for another?”

(pause)

This is the cry of freedom fighters,

Of protestors,

Of people such as Dr. King,

And others pushing forward human and civil rights

When we call out for restoration

Healing

Hope

Peace,

Justice

For places such as Palestine, Cuba, South Africa and Haiti

Detroit, Ferguson, and right here at home

And time and again,

Instead of conversation around a table,

We are cruelly pushed to the ground

Beaten and degraded by those,

Who claim to also, follow Jesus

But they are amiss,

That the inequality they practice,

Is not what Jesus Christ preached

Is not what it means to be a follower of Christ

(pause)

This is the cry, too

of those incarcerated;

Those who are judged and condemned by their sin,

Who are thrown away without resources

Whose humanity is erased,

When we on the outside refer to them as nothing more than animals

They have been left behind,

Marked as lepers,

Forgotten

In that coldness of a jail cell,

Or solitary confinement

I am sure they too wonder,

Where is Jesus?

Who is here for me?

(pause)

But we are amiss,

We fail to remember,

That on the Cross-

JESUS FORGAVE

Good News, Right?

Jesus Christ whom shattered boundaries

and flipped tables

and broke the law

So that He imparted

and gave freely,

Grace and love.

Jesus Christ,

The One to Come

With His Birth,

THERE IS HOPE!

Jesus brings the Good News to John,

To those who are homebound,

Those fighting the good fight

And those who have lost their way,

And to us,

Who are waiting…

The blind receive their sight,

The lame walk

The lepers are cleansed,

The deaf hear,

THE DEAD ARE RAISED

AND THE POOR HAVE GOOD NEWS…”

The Good News of Jesus Christ is,

YES

Jesus Christ is the One,

Sent by the Creator God,

Who LOVES ALL,

Who comes into this world as we all must,

Through love

Through joy

Giving us hope,

That not only that this isn’t all there is

BUT

That the KINGDOM OF GOD is here!

NOW!

And because we follow Jesus Christ,

We do have the freedom,

To go into those places,

Of lonliness

Of sorrow

Of fear,

And answer that question,

YES

Yes,

Jesus Christ IS the ONE.

Thanks be to God

 (art created by A’Driane Nieves)

 

 

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