“… most of you [are] good New Englanders… but I – a transplant from New York City – must confess to committing a sin almost on par to being a Yankees fan (which I’m not)….”
Jesus as ruler and leader usurps the position of emperors and governors and religious leaders who would seek that authority for themselves. Throughout his ministry, Jesus has echoed the cries of the prophets illuminating the ways that power corrupts people. He’s tried and tried again to show that those in authority must be governed by justice, that they must take care of all of the people in their charge with a focus on those on the edges of society and those with less privilege – widows and orphans and workers and immigrants.
Jesus as king turns the system on its head and takes away the control that others have tried to hoard for themselves.
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.
“The first fear I had when taking on this scripture was ‘How can I possibly teach you all to live a God fearing life when I have so much work to do myself?’ But the more I studied it, the more excited I became.”
Stephanie Dozois, Minister of Youth and Families