We often look to scripture to help guide us on our life’s journey. We read the ancient stories hoping to find the way to face our world today; seeking solutions to age-old problems. Praying that the answers will be clear
“Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, I will live.
Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God.
Wherever you die, I will also die and be buried there near you.
May the Eternal One punish me—and even more so— if anything besides death comes between us.”
What if we were able to pledge the same kind of love and loyalty to God, to each other?
This is where the theology of Jesus and the philosophy of John Lennon and Paul McCartney come crashing together: Love is all you need. Do you know that song?
All you need is love [do do-do-do-doooo] All you need is love [do do-do-do-doooo]…
I think Jesus could groove to that. But I’m not sure he would agree with those verses that each end the same way, like: “There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.It’s … [easy…].” Is it? Easy?
There IS a balm when we listen to and believe victims of physical and psychological abuse
There IS a balm when we stop being silent and speak out,
There IS a balm when we fight for justice
There IS a balm when we stop being silent bystanders,
Through it all, God stands besides us, giving us the strength and courage of Jesus who chose death on the cross to show us that violence is never the answer.
There IS a balm in Gilead – it’s God’s truth, God’s promise of love and justice, it’s God’s new endeavor, working through your hands.
When we hear God’s voice and see God’s truth, we can open our mouths – telling our stories of God’s call in our lives; we can open our hearts to the ways that God is at work in our lives and our world and we can follow our call, So that we may be true and pure and strong and brave like all of the prophets who have come before us and using of gifts to be daring and to play our part in co-creating God’s world of peace and justice and love.
The Bible is more than a strict set of rules, it is a collection of stories that help us discern how God calls us to be in this world. These stories remind us that we are accepted just as we are and the pleads for us to accept others in the same way; to love each other with the same, fierce, complete, unwavering love that God shows each of us.
We’ve got to believe stories about attacks and abuse. We’ve got to listen to the voices of women of color and transgender women and women who have been marginalized and minoritized, to hear their stories of being cast out and oppressed. But it’s not only about the abuse it’s not only about that “testimonial porn.” We’ve got to listen to the voices of hope and strength and courage and change. We’ve got to listen to the ways that God speaks through the rainbow of voices that bless our world.
Our words can be used to spread love in the face of fear. We can use our mouths to talk about suicide and depression and mental illness. We can use our tongues to speak out against racism and xenophobia. We can talk about others who believe differently than us, look and love and live differently than us and dismantle systems of misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia. We can use tongue and words and breath to find unity in the face of division; commonality in the face of conflict; and acceptance instead of resentment for our differences.
When the “gods of the nations” are trying to rule us through fear, we will sing songs that remind us about what love is bringing.
When we feel increasingly isolated and alone, we can gather in God’s sanctuary of power and beauty, and find support and comfort from our church community.
As the world tries to label us and divide us, we can gather here, and find commonality in our differences and blessings in our diversity as we learn to see Christ in others who are different from us.
Can I get an Amen?
It’s not enough to just worship God. It’s not enough to say that we are Christians or say that we go to church. In order to truly worship God, we must also serve humanity. We say those words every week as we recite our Covenant together. And I believe that is the core of who we are at MCC.