Salt. Light. Disrupting.Marching. Prophetic Movement

“Blessed are you when people revile you

and persecute you

and utter all kinds of evil against you

falsely on my account”

for you are the salt of the earth

(pause)

They,

Were the salt of the earth.

How often have we heard that common phrase invoked

As we are remembering those who have been in our lives

Elders,

Ancestors

Whose sometimes larger than life presence

Kept us in awe

And seemingly too,

The significant piece of Fabric in communities

Which couldn’t have even thrived

Without these sisters and brothers,

Who were the salt of the earth.

(pause)

Many of you never met

Our sister in Christ,

Barbara Richmond

She was homebound,

Disabled

Unable to join us here at Redeemer,

So we brought Church to her.

As I met with her family for the first time last week,

Preparing for a celebration of her life,

It was clear

The stories that were shared with me,

Because of her graciousness

Her openness

Her love,

She was indeed,

The salt of the earth

To those she had touched,

And now,

As they mourned

It was apparent

That life

Seemingly didn’t have that same zest

(pause)

George,

Doris

Omar-

Each of our siblings in Christ

In their own way

Were indeed

The salt of the earth,

Through their perseverance

In the places they were called

Through their dedication

To their families-

Through their faith,

As they served and extended God’s Peace,

In this sacred space

And yes,

I am sure if you ask anyone

Who was honored to call them

Mother

Brother

Friend,

Life seemingly

Has lost a bit of flavor

With their absence

(pause)

What does it mean to be

The salt of the earth?

It means,

Just

Doing

It.

Just being the embodiment,

Of how Jesus Christ has impacted our life

The prophetic witness

Of not being afraid,

To speak truth

Of what the Gospel calls us to

A living testament

Of how the Holy Spirit

Disturbs

Invokes

Provokes us,

To action

Action

To help those who are oppressed

To find their voice

To shine LIGHT

On the injustice

And guiding those who have been wrongly accused

To freedom.

It is a cry against the unjust empire

And always present,

Shining a LIGHT

Of Hope

(pause)

Jesus,

Continues to push against the boundaries,

In our Gospel this morning

That the status quo spelled out to the common people

Using the ancient laws,

God’s Word

For tearing down,

And exposing one’s iniquities

That because they somehow incurred God’s wrath,

Because of the sins of their ancestors

And were subjected to a life of servitude

Of slavery.

But Jesus utters words of hope

“Blessed are YOU…”

And reminds those who felt lost

They are the salt of the earth.

(pause)

Jesus

Does not hide who He is,

Nor will He shrink

From the shadows of oppression

Jesus,

Uplifts those

Whose wounds are visible,

Whose listlessness continues to fester

Shaking them from the complicity

Of just sitting on the sidelines

Of believing the lies,

That they should just conform,

That they should not challenge

Reminding them

That they are the light of the world,

And that light must be seen,

Guiding those who have been missing,

Or those whose very spirit,

Has gone dormant.

The LIGHT

Cannot

Be

Hidden

(pause)

Jesus’s words,

Empower us today, beloved

That we are the salt of the earth.

We have a purpose

A mission

We cannot allow others to dictate to us

Who we are,

And how we live out our lives,

And this call,

This goes beyond the ordinary,

Of just receiving God’s Grace,

Of coming to the Table,

And being Fed.

Let me ask you a question-

Do you know who you are?

Do you revel in your saltiness?

Or do you think

That you have nothing to offer,

That no one will miss the essence

That is you

Do you believe at how your LIGHT

Illuminates brightly

Into someone’s life

Who needs to know,

That they are not alone?

Or

Do you hesitate?

That this may not be the right time to shine,

Or not even proper for us

To stand out

To speak out

To be

OUT

THERE

VISIBLE

As

Children of the Most High!

Why should we be afraid?

(pause)

We claim

To admire

Martin Luther

And if we do that,

Then-

Martin cared not

About how his saltiness

Caught those in power

Off guard

Or that his light

Blinded those who were delving in the darkness

Of injustice.

So why don’t we follow his example?

And be bold?

(pause)

Following Jesus means,

We are going to be salty,

If being salty means that who that we are irritates

Those who are attempting to break the bonds of the beloved community

Away from the Creator God,

Well,

Guess then,

We are following what Jesus Calls us to

Following Jesus means,

We should burn brightly,

That we blind those,

Who have chosen to keep the shades drawn

And attempt to block out the LIGHT of GOD,

Then well,

We are committed then,

To refusing to hide our Light

That we are NOT ASHAMED

Of how we are Called

(pause)

Because who we are

DOES make a difference

So what if our neighbors,

Or friends,

Or family

Don’t agree with how we share the Good News,

How vocal,

How public we feel moved,

To not only walk with the

Outcast

The Samaritan woman

The leper

The refugee

The ex-felon

The homeless youth

But to publicly shine our LIGHTS

Into that darkness,

Where those who would rather

Tyrannize

Dominate

Repress

Are festering

Lurking

Plotting

For the destruction,

Of God’s Beloved people

You

And

Me.

(pause)

We have to remember,

On what we stand on

God’s WORD

We must remember,

That Baptism is more than some ritualized action

We are given a candle,

And charged

With letting our light shine.

Do you believe

In Jesus

And all of His Promises

And His Word

And His POWER?

And His Peace?

(pause)

Then go,

Be THAT disruptive,

Salty

Child

Of

God.

Thanks Be to God

Prophetic, Disturbing WORDS-The Beatitudes

The new normal

That many of us face each morning,

Is a distressing reality.

And yet,

The Good News is

Within community,

Of sisters, brothers, siblings

There is sacredness

Where we can begin to craft and mold

A sense of peace.

(pause)

Words that pour from deep within,

Are examples of the hope

That we know

Can break every chain.

Social media

Is slowly evolving

Into such a place

Where many are seeing

And sowing

That spark!

(pause)

One of my colleagues,

Serving in an ELCA congregation

In Arkansas

Shared his interpretation

Of the Beatitudes,

In this way:

Blessed are the atheists, for they’re more courageous than the Christians

Blessed are the undocumented, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the refugees, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those court-martialed because they refuse to torture, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, those who do not repay their enemies or reward their friends, for they will receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, who refuse to fly drones, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for resistance to unjust rule, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”for they will inherit the earth.

 

(pause)

Perhaps,

From where you sit,

You are immersed

In these words

The hope that it translates for those

Who are routinely disregarded

Shamed

Outcast

For who they are

And how they cling to life,

It indeed speaks volumes

That God’s mercy

Is for ALL

(pause)

Or,

Your own nature just might be shook

Reaction to these words

Much like one dissenter among the comments

On Clint’s post,

Who seemed outraged

That atheists

Were deemed to be,

Blessed,

Raised up higher

Than those of us

Who have rightful claim

To our spiritual birthright

Or perhaps,

You are questioning,

Of why I am even sharing this,

And where is my own

Moral outrage?

(pause)

“Blessed are the poor in spirit”

Perhaps these are the moments,

When we as people of faith,

Need to turn inward

And examine the ways

We refute Christ’s teachings,

Refuse to follow His commandments

Of welcoming,

Clothing

Feeding

Caring

Loving

The stranger

Refuse to emulate

The Christ

We confess to follow

Why are we surprised

That there are indeed

Those who are

Poor

In

Spirit

And why do we become so divisive

When they,

Who are

Poor in spirit

Atheists

Meek

Undocumented

Refugees

Are the ONES

WHO EXUDE MORE FREELY GOD’S GRACE!

(pause)

And yet,

Jesus’s own Words here,

In the Beatitudes

As He was teaching His disciples

Were seen as radical,

And

Prophetic.

By teaching His disciples,

Jesus Christ,

Was gathering up the resistance!

By daring to preach against the status quo

Jesus was indeed,

Starting a revolution!

Why is it so offensive,

To even ponder who Jesus was and is,

In this fashion?

(pause)

Prophetic words,

Almost always

Disturb the status quo,

Disrupt the order of things

Challenge the comfortable

(pause)

Their actions,

Their ministry,

These lessons are not to be so lightly treated

As a metaphor

Or something in the abstract

Or worth only for historical note,

And cannot be translated into the present day-

Because the refugees are crowding us out,

Even though

We proudly proclaim

To welcome the poor,

Tired

Huddled

Masses

Or that the undocumented

Are a threat to our livelihood

Our freedoms

While voluntarily accepting employment that,

Let’s be real,

None of us would accept the conditions

Or the wages

Of just $5/hr

With no benefits in sight.

(pause)

Jesus,

Here in our Gospel this morning,

With His Prophetic Teaching

Of the Word

Spoke to those who were present,

Who needed to hear

That the Creator indeed

Walked alongside

Encouraging God’s People

To break every chain

Speaks to us now,

Who need to be reminded

That God does stand with the oppressed

EMPOWERING US

To break those chains

(pause)

That We-

Who are poor in spirit

We

Who are sometimes labeled as weak,

Because we do follow Christ’s commandment

To love one another

Because we are working,

Towards the beloved community

Because we are not afraid,

To stand up

For refugees,

For outsiders

REGARDLESS

Of where they come from,

Or how they worship God

Because we are persecuted

For standing with,

The mentally ill

The formerly incarcerated

We

Are

Blessed!

(paused)

THAT

That is the Good News this morning.

Jesus’s words,

To those who are gathered,

And to us

Was an affirmation

Of both their humanity,

And

God’s unfailing Love!

Conditions in Jesus’s time,

For those who were regulated to

Second,

Third

Last citizenship class

Were one under an oppressive

Authoritarian

And hopeless

Many were indeed,

Poor in spirit

Angry with God for abandonment

Declaring they had no allegiance

To God,

Giving up

Resigning themselves

To a broken life

Jesus’s words,

Were

EMPOWERMENT

For

The

Powerless!

(pause)

Jesus’s Words,

Are

POWER

For us NOW!

And if we cling to this truth,

And proclaim we are Christ’s followers,

Then

Let’s

Just

Do

It!

(pause)

“and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

    and to walk humbly with your God?”

Do justice.

This is not just words on paper,

For us to THINK about theologically

THIS IS OUR MARCHING ORDERS.

Do we believe we are blessed?

YES

So then what is our responsibility?

(pause)

One of my pastoral besties is here this morning,

Tuhnia

She too,

As a Woman of Color

From her heart,

Shares how she sees the Beatitudes

In this way,

Blessed are the Muslims

Blessed are the Sanctuary churches

Blessed are the resistance

Blessed are the marginalized

Blessed are those who are putting their bodies,

And lives for justice and liberation

Blessed are our children

That they may one day know

A world without hate and violence

Thanks Be to God.

The Invisible Becomes Visible-Wisdom from the Ancestors

Turn to your neighbor

And say

“Because of Jesus Christ

I am

Responsible

For

You.”

(pause, wait for the laughter)

Now what does that mean, really?

(pause)

We hear in our Scriptures

That we will always have the poor

But,

I don’t think that Jesus,

Nor our Creator God

Wanted poverty to become

Tangled and obtrusive

Into the fabric

Of our collective lives

(pause)

Life,

Its algorithms,

Which are supposed to follow some mysterious formula

To make our living easier

Is out of sync

(pause)

This country boasts of its coffers

That are overflowing with wealth, riches and resources

Yet,

Beyond the glitter of the spotlights

Lie destitute, famished bodies overflowing

At the gates

(pause)

My children have, on our routine errands to the grocery store,

For example

Question and wonder about what happens to all of the produce,

If they can’t sell it all,

Even if its still good.

Well, not sure you are aware of this

But after seven to ten days

If the bananas you have been seeing each time you pop into the store

If they have not been touched or bought

They are forced to throw them out,

So they can get a fresh shipment,

From their warehouse

(pause)

When humanity refused to peer out beyond the border,

Past the walls,

Too sedated and comfortable awash in a sea of purple

Those who had not been invited through,

This is when those who had little status,

Seeing the heartbreak, acted

In the 1970’s, for example in San Francisco

Organizations such as Food Not Bombs were formed

Rescuing good, unspoiled and healthy food from dumpsters

Cooking and providing a meal,

To the homeless and forgotten

And the response of the authorities?

Many of these volunteers were arrested

(pause)

This trend continues even now

People, who have answered the call,

“Jesus, when did we see you hungry,

And feed you?”

Embolden because of the Holy Spirit pushing, encouraging, empowering them

To walk beyond the gates,

And DO SOMETHING!

Instead of immersing themselves in apathy

And the excuses of the principalities and powers

Blaming the poor,

For

They share of themselves,

From their Table

Bringing meals, and comfort to those out in the streets, or parks

Or even, into the safety and the sacredness of their own spaces

(pause)

One Woman of Color,

Owning her own small diner

Did just this

She invited,

She welcomed the homeless midweek,

From 6-9am,

To eat and relax and just be recognized just as another customer

Freely!

Instead of businesses around her, applauding,

Opening dialogue for discussion

Pushing back the gate to begin

Many complained,

They didn’t want to see the poor

SO CLOSE TO THEM

Inside the gate

These

Vagrants,

Pungent

Unkempt

Scaring away paying customers

So because of the complaints to the powerful

She was forced,

To stop

For fear of her business being shut down,

Because of rules and regulations

(pause)

And it does not have to stop at just food justice issues,

Regardless,

Whenever we as people of faith see a need,

When we understand the responsibility of stewardship

We have for one another,

Whether we are feeding from our own coffers

Or immersed in viable solutions about housing the homeless

Building tiny homes,

Which in fact, has been proven

To save local governments monetary resources,

Instead of scattered temporary solutions that treat the poor as an infections problem,

To be eradicated.

Or encouraging children, who don’t understand why the adults in charge

Are so thoughtless and heartless

To treat another person,

With

When we create unique and even yes, unorthodox ways,

To create new communities, and care for one another

The rich, wealthy, powerful intrudes

As if suddenly,

Doing for others,

As God has done for us

Is taboo

(pause)

There is no way,

You can not see

The poor

And just not those without money

The poor also means those,

Who have nothing,

No access to employment, to housing, to citizenship, to freedom

The ex-felon,

Who it is pressed upon,

That they must have a job,

A position

That society is NOT going to care for them,

That they must work extra hard to return back to society

Win back trust,

And maybe be welcomed just on the margins

Of the inner circle

(pause)

But, see

What we do not see,

And sometimes not made aware

That their fate and success of transformation

Lies in human hands,

In the hands of companies,

Who have the power,

Of whom to hire

And more often than not

The word ex-felon guarantees

Their resume will wind up in the trash

And so the powerful

Avert their eyes

At the gate

As the poor are begging for that second chance,

(pause)

Or,

The Migrant worker

Who is doing jobs that,

Let’s be honest

Many of us would refuse

Feel it beneath us

Wouldn’t be caught doing

Because we know our rights

What our citizenship entitles us to

And so instead,

These corporations

Only see them,

As a commodity to be exploited

While their gaze is fixated

On their profit margins,

And stock portfolios swelling

And so they refuse to hear the poor begging

Outside the gates

For fair wages

Just so they can live!

(pause)

Or,

The outcast,

The outcast that has so much heaped upon them

On their shoulders

Because maybe

They have accumulated this massive debit

That society refuses to forgive

Because their status is not enough

Because they are not willing to work to with them

To wipe out this huge deficit

That their bodies are saddled with.

The poor are the transgendered and disabled

Or single parents on the brink of a breakdown

Or even

The poor are those trapped in the inner cities

Added that they are identified by the tinge of color

Lovingly painted on their skin,

By the One,

Who many seem to forget,

Was also an immigrant,

Of Color.

(pause)

These poor are perceived to be a threat to the well ordered society

Even though

Quiet as kept

Neither the authorities

Nor the politicians

Have faithfully lived out their pledge

To work for the people

As they were elected by the people

To protect the people

So that the people

REGARDLESS

Can live a life of freedom

Liberty

And

Peace.

So instead,

Sheltered by their wealth

They step over the bodies outside of the gate

Broken.

Who are begging to be seen

As an essential part of humanity

(pause)

Meanwhile,

We, the rest of humanity

On the other side of the gate

Ignore the teachings in our sacred texts

Ignore the stories of our Elders

Ignore the WORD

Cherry picking

To what is acceptable,

And will not stir us out of our comfort zone

Instead of adhering

“The first shall be the last,

And the last shall be the first”

Clearly calling for us

To be responsible for

ONE ANOTHER

ESPECIALLY

We fall,

We suffer

We are cast out

And we are dying at the gate!

(pause)

And because the Creator truly cares,

God continues to send endless Prophets

To tell us

TEACH US

And we in turn

Refuse to listen

Until it is,

Too late

(pause)

Very curious that we do not know

The name of this rich man

In our Gospel this morning,

(pause)

He has the assumption

That because he had the privilege of living the good life,

Access to resources of wealth

To a fault believing that Lazarus

Is still in a position of slavery

The rich man is shocked

That he is left

In darkness

Abandoned

Beyond the gate,

The abyss

Removed from the light and love of God

And the security of being in the presence of the Ancestors

(pause)

As our Gospel text was being discussed in various places on Facebook,

Someone debated that even as the rich man was in this chaism,

That the chaism was not big enough

That God could not traverse it

That God would close the gap

As if salvation would still be warrated

For this rich man

Who still was not understanding this lesson

(pause)

And yes,

Our God

Beloved Creator

Has the POWER TO CLOSE ANY GAP

That would keep us away from God

But when we are the ones

Who CREATE THAT CHAISM

That GAP

When we cling to selfishness

Greed

Humanity made wealth

Because we refused to HEAR the Good News

We refused to SEE JESUS

Hungry,

Tired

Broken

Poor

(pause)

And yet,

We forget

When we were hungry

Tired

Broken

Cast aside by the very society we cling to

To keep our status,

Jesus Christ DID NOT IGNORE US

Regardless of our faith,

Our status

Our lack of resources

Or wealth.

(pause)

Jesus Christ did not step over us at the gate

Jesus Christ,

Offered His Hands

Of Healing

Offered His Words

Of Forgiveness

OFFERED HIS LIFE

SO THAT WE CAN LIVE!!

(pause)

What’s in a Name? #decolonizeGod’sName

An article that was just shared on the ELCA Facebook page, highlighted a shocking event where the PCUSA dared to participate in a prayer to God….simply because they spoke the name of God as..

Allah

When did we have copyright on what God’s Name should be?

I’m not understanding why we get all worked up when we use all of the expressions for God

I am a part of this movement to #decolonizeAllTheThings, specifically around religion and especially as..

#decolonizeLutheranism

Ase,

Ameen

Peace Be Upon You

Blessed Be.

 

Off the Beaten Path, Away from the Norm

I’ve never been known to do anything linear

Or normal for that matter

It’s Thursday afternoon,

and I’m working on my application to Chicago Theological Seminary

for another damn degree

S.T.M

advanced

Why?

Liberation.jpg

I’m supposed to wait three years,

three years in pastoral ministry solidified

three years of being silent.

I cannot do that.

When I first came to my congregation, one of the things I expressed was this-

“Preaching and professing the Gospel as it moves within me,

fuels the way I share and teach with you”

That my reality as a Woman of Color cannot be washed away in baptismal waters

That my righteous anger and authenticity would surface,

Because what is happening to my People, my Tribe saddened and sickens me

Although I love them dearly, truly and deeply

Although I understand that my Call here was given to me by the Creator

I cannot remain silent

So I am still involved with justice and advocacy issues,

So this is not the end

So I remain perched upon the horizon,

at the waterfall

hearing those voices

the drums

the rhythm of sacredness

templo_osun_osogbo.jpg

My question is why have we totally and utterly abandoned one expression of spirituality

for one that is not even faithful to the One it claims to follow?

Why have we demonized something so natural

for the artificial? 

Why do we not realize

that the Creator speaks through both,

and all?

When will we learn we are a Sacred People

and our traditions we attempted to abandon

Are still with us

Move through us

On a Sunday Morning.

Our ancestors heard the Gospel while in chains

They knew that this One who transformed death upon the Cross

 Would not abandoned them

Not abandon us

even in this hellish exile.

So, because of my Ancestors

I am able to stand among the rains

Pursue wisdom

Answer the Call

Thankful to the Creator

Ase

Ase

Amen

Amen.

 

 

Holy Saturday poetry (influenced by the untitled)

What does Easter mean to you?

Does it mean that we can finally rest from our labors?

That we celebrate the rising of the Son-

And Monday morning we return doing the same…

Wallowing in..

Dressing the same

Talking the same…

Because we think we saved?

Just because Jesus died,

Don’t mean we can act a fool

Or does this Easter Journey

Find our souls crying out for JOY

Find us caught up in the SPIRIT at the empty tomb

Shouting to the darkness

That its defeated

That there is HOPE

And Jesus ain’t left us

Forgotten us

Forsaken us

But what remains with us

Is HIS Commandment

To LOVE one another

Even when we can’t stand each other

Even when we have to get in one another’s faces

Calling one another out on the injustice

The bullshit

The racism

The violence

The evil

That we do

Cause we aint perfect

But that’s what the horizon where the veil remains

Beyond that-there is PEACE

Right now,

We got GRACE

Here

Tell the devil to walk the %^(^( on

Into the abyss

Because the CROSS casts a Resurrection Shadow

Basking in the LIGHT

The Blinding LIGHT

OF the

I AM

A Hard Week

It’s been a hard week.

One of my beloved Elders has walked on,

Because the Ancestors, 

Because the Creator

Has called him.

And so now how I move forward

in my pastoral life

reflects some of the wisdom he imparted in all of us

Perhaps I will get my Ph.D

Because our Elders have worked so hard, 

to pave the way

for transformative and restorative change

an uplifting of our people,

and what the Ancestors are calling us to.

But for now, how God has called me, takes precedence 

and so I will remain as one of the lights of God’s Creation

being loved and cared for and by this community of faith,

being loved and cared for by my Tribe

remembering the love and care of Papa Pete

who no doubtedly is having martinis with the Creator God

Remembering Dr. Pete Pero

Good News, Even in the Wilderness

Grace and Peace to you

My sisters and brothers in Christ

Finding our very beings weakened because of the toxic in this world

We cry out O Lord Hear My Prayer

And the Good News is

That God reaches out and feeds our starving spirit

With the Bread and Wine,

The Body and Blood

Of Jesus Christ

Amen.

(pause)

What nourishes us

As we travel along this sacred journey-

And who are the angels in our lives

That call us back from those places of distress

Telling us to “Get Up and eat!”

(pause)

I would like to share a story

Every Christmas season

There was this sense of excitement that ruminated within me

Because beyond the presents or the snow or the no school

The Christmas season held for me a sense of belonging

Our entire family, my Mother’s tribe

Would gather over my Grandmother’s house

And that meant that my Granny Hazel would fix gumbo

And I mean the authentic stuff

Flavorful rue,

Celery, onions, garlic,

Andouille sausage and shrimp

These ancestral roots buried deep in Louisiana and Mississippi

Spilled out all over that pot of Gumbo,

(pause)

Being in my Grandmother’s presence

And having a bowl or two or three of Gumbo filled me

Energized me

Hearing her voice,

Watching her in the kitchen

Inhaling all of her wisdom and love-

She was my angel

In the midst of an unforgiving wilderness

(pause)

Whenever any of our lives were particularly hectic or chaotic

We, her grandchildren would find ourselves over her house

She’d know when something was wrong in our lives

Especially since rooted in her stature as Elder

This world was completely upside down

She was in tune to it all

So for me,

Being in her presence

Filled my Soul

Temporarily soothing this hunger

This hunger for comfort, of a needing to belong

That we all carry with us

(pause)

Even when she could not physically cook or bake anymore

Her witness,

Her living testimony of how God had moved in her life

Called me back from those places of doubt and of sorrow

Her voice

Those voices

Are encompassed in the echoes

That reach out across the ages

Across these sacred words

In the voice of the Angel to Elijah

“Get Up and Eat!”

“Don’t let nothing get you down.

Always Pray!”

(pause)

I am sure many of us have those stories

Of those in our lives

Whose cooking and care, whose love through baking

Through teaching, shining their light

Revitalizes us

Gives us Hope

Tells us to never give up

Because of who they are,

It’s enough

A light snack, if you will

To get us through that tough day

Until we are once again before The Table

To be fed whole

(pause)

I confess that this particular week writing sermons

Has been one of struggles

Not because these texts are difficult or swathed in parables

But what else is there to say

Jesus is the Bread of Life

We are reminded yet again in our Gospel texts this week

Who can compare?

Only Jesus can fill those places within our very being

Where our souls cry out

O Lord Hear My Prayer

When I call

Answer me

Come and listen…to me!

(pause)

Could we stand up in this place and be that exposed

And sing that song,

O Lord hear my Prayer?

Could we confess that we are broken

Because this world is broken

Unbecoming

Unpleasant

When we unashamedly sing about God’s Love

That the Kingdom of God is right here

That Jesus is the Way, the Truth, The Light

The I AM

This broken word recoils and reacts almost violently

Against God’s Truth

(pause)

Elijah’s words are frightening to us

Because of the vulnerability of this prophet who was human,

Who was also a child of God

Who in this moment felt besides himself

Despondent

 “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.

He pleaded for death,

Why?

He knew of God’s mighty power

He’d answered the call

He’d faithfully, obediently

lived out the mission that God had given him

Or did the ugliness of this world

bleed right through the film cast over his eyes?

What happens to us, my sisters and brothers in Christ?

What happens when we answer the Call

To be a part of the community of faith,

To use our hands, to facilitate healing

To use our voices, to facilitate healing

To use our bodies to be a physical manifestation of God’s Grace

And suddenly this world revolts against people of faith?

(pause)

When I answered this Call, this path that God had set before me

It seemed that the more I wandered in this wilderness

The more I was aware of the unpleasantness of this world

And how Creation struggled

I watched and observed

that people would rather cling to false prophets

Chain themselves to idolatry

Reject the presence of Jesus Christ

Especially when Jesus calls them and us

To be in relationship with one another

Regardless of our faults, our disabilities

Our aging, our low status

Our skin color, our languages

Our visible suffering

(pause)

And the more my eyes were opened to the hostility in this world

The disobedience of this world

The refusal to acknowledge Who God was

The denial that yes, we could actually live into the Peace of Christ

As a beloved community

The more I was angry

Does that too, make you angry, beloved?

It is okay to say we are angry, because those that we love

Those that are dear to us,

those that we are bonded to

through the Holy Spirit, through the blood of Jesus

May never know any peace

(pause)

There is so much betrayal between us as humanity

As people of faith

So my anger evolves into a state of inconsolable sadness

When the Charleston Nine were murdered

I had the ability to flee into a wilderness

I had the ability to immerse myself on the lower prairie

Of my camp

And cry out loud

O Lord Hear Our Prayer!

We are hurting!

“It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life,

for I am no better than my ancestors.”

(pause)

So what nourishes us along our spiritual journey,

And who are the Angels among us?

What nourished me in those moments of being in that wilderness

Was the opportunity of doing Bible Study

With high school youth, counselors-in-training

What nourishes us, my sisters and brothers in Christ

When we find our voice, and speak for transformative change

And God’s righteousness

Even enduring ridicule, jeers, and hatred

This is when our Angels, those next to us in the pews

Or across the fence

Or in the coffee shop, grocery store

Who stop and share the peace

Invite us over for a meal

Bless us with their prayers and their love

(pause)

What nourishes all of us beloved

Is the Good News of Jesus Christ

Jesus stands there, beyond the Cross

In our aisles, in the streets, in our homes

Right where we are

Handing out Life Giving Bread

Jesus says

 “This is the bread that comes down from heaven,

 so that one may eat of it and not die.

(Share with the congregation that now, even as the world continues to battle between  peace and being the beloved community, and grumbling about who Jesus is and questioning whether or not Jesus called and commanded us to take care of the poor, there are moments when I find myself frustrated, angry and sadden with this world. It is in those moments when sometimes I don’t feel like even eating, that I clearly hear my Granny Hazel’s voice, now an Ancestor telling me “Get Up and Eat.”)

Thanks be to God