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.
Our faith is made of stories woven together over thousands of years. Stories of communities surrounded by a world trying to contaminated them. Families looking for land, individuals listening for God’s voice, slaves escaping their oppressors, evil rulers brought low, love being chosen over fear.
“The Bible helps us by naming the struggling, letting us know it’s okay to be angry and sad, reminding us that we can yell and scream and blame God; reminding us that God is always lingering near ready to take our hand.
The Psalms remind us that God is with us in good times and bad, Ron Chernow and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s work reminded us of Hamilton; the ways that Hamilton helped lead a revolution and birth a new nation.
Their work impacted others, so can ours.”
We know better; we must defend ourselves from our enemies, we must meet violence with violence and hatred with hatred, we must look out for people within the artificial borders we’ve drawn before we take care of others who live outside of them.
But no matter how much we want to believe that God is only on our side, our story of war and hatred is not God’s story.
“God is here – but God doesn’t wait for us here, sitting in this silent sanctuary waiting until we show up on Sunday morning.
God is here because we bring God here, because we are here with all our varied skills and arts; because we bring God when we gather in witness, in celebration, in struggle,
And God goes with us – in the work we do for Open Table and Family Promise and Sudbury Food Pantry and driving for FISH and all of the other places that you do God’s work and being God’s kindness outside of these walls.”
If you ask three people to report on a shared conversation or event, you’ll probably get four different accounts of what happened. The four canonical Gospels tell different stories of Jesus but that doesn’t take anything away from their truthfulness. We each have a version of God’s story – we each are a version of God’s story. Tell your tale, share your story, live your life so that the story of God’s kingdom becomes reality.
“What more perfect example has there been of God’s love than Jesus Christ? …Jesus would be on the border with immigrants seeking asylum; Jesus would speak out about the connection between mass shootings and violence against women; Jesus would stand up to racism and sexism and homophobia and transphobia and xenophobia….Jesus would also take the time to lament and mourn and seek rest, renewal, and be re-energized among friends around the table”
“Being a city on a hill doesn’t mean living in isolation. Being a city on a hill doesn’t mean looking down on others. Being a city on a hill shining God’s light out into the world certainly does not mean building walls to keep other out; arresting those who come to us seeking safety and security; or tearing children from the arms of their parents. And no, imprisoning families together doesn’t make it any better.”