Our denomination continues to be made up of local churches that don’t always see eye-to-eye. It’s always heartening to be an event like General Synod and to be around so many folks who are “just like me.” But it often also highlights the differences.
Three is a magic number, providing strength and stability for tripods and tricycles and relationships. As Holy love continues to be revealed to us through the Spirit that lives in us, we can avoid being drawn into bad triangles and focus on the good.
On that night though, something changed. Those who were not arrested were released outside. Instead of leaving the area, they watched as police began loading alcohol and people into patrol wagons. As police attempted for ten minutes to detain one woman in handcuffs (many stories identify her as Storme DeLarverie – a lesbian entertainer and bouncer, born to an African American mother and a white father) – as she escaped four times from the police and been hit on the head with a baton, she look out at the bystanders and shouted “why don’t you guys do something?”
The story doesn’t end there – or anywhere. The disciples go out to follow the Risen Christ to preach to all nations, to preach good news to the poor and proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
They continue the mission and they witness to the seemingly impossible ways that God’s work and Word surrounds us.
And their story grows, and their witnessing clothes others with power from on high and their joy gets passed from generation to generation until it reaches us.
On this Mental Health Sunday, may we commit to do just that: to be a sanctuary where everyone is welcome exactly as they are; where we will not be afraid to talk about mental health; where we will push our legislators and leaders to provide funding and support for mental health for all; where we will hear God’s call to simply reach out to others and ask “are you okay?”
We may not have Jesus’ gift of miracles but we do have the gift of love.
It’s about all of us. We’re not in this alone. When Simon Peter was lost and afraid he went back to fishing – to what he’s always known, what brings him comfort – the rest of them went with him. He said “I’m going out to fish” and they replied “we’ll go with you.”
Fear is part of the human story. Their story is our story. We’re afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of who we don’t know, afraid that there’s not enough for us or that someone else will get there first. We’re afraid that we’re alone, afraid to speak out and stand up. Afraid of what comes next.
But God’s part in this story tells us differently. Ever since the beginning, God’s word says “don’t be afraid.”
If we march with Jesus, we choose an alternative to an oppressive and injust empire. If we walk with Jesus, we choose love as an alternative to violence and vengeance. if we stand with Jesus, we choose an alternative to feeling like we have to shoulder all the burdens alone.
Minister of Youth Music, Rachel Williams reminds us of the ways that God calls us to sing and dance even in the midst of sadness.
This is not the warm and fuzzy Jesus that I hope to find