God makes a perfect scapegoat when things go wrong but when we can accept the consequences for our actions, when we can use a prophetic voice to call out wrongdoing, when we can recognize that the love of God is broader than we can ever imagine, we can come back to God.
Just as the people of Israel and Judah walked away from their leaders when then threatened violence, we can stand up to toxic masculinity in our culture. We can teach our children and ourselves a different way.
“Dancing may not always look like dancing. Singing may not always sound like singing. Praise may not always look like praise.”
MCC’s vision 2020 team introduces a draft mission statement.
What about when our laws don’t line up with God’s laws? What happens when we run them through the filter of love and realize that they’re incompatible?
The Bible is filled with origin stories – it’s the origin story of our faith, setting up laws and morals to sustain a developing community that will become a nation, helping us to find our place in God’s world.
The characters in these stories are just like us – they’ve faced trauma, they’ve made bad choices, they’re not perfect – and yet they are all chosen and called by God.
Jacob’s duplicitous nature leaves space for my own.
The forgiveness that he is given by God and (eventually) by the brother he wronged tells us that we can do the same – we can be forgiven and we can forgive.
We can wrestle with our misunderstandings and our ignorance just like Jacob wrestled with – well, whoever he wrestled with.
It often takes me a while to recognize the way that my prayers are answered. My needs aren’t always supplied the way I expect. And there are plenty of times that I find myself laughing when I do: laughing at the fact that I didn’t see God at work at first, laughing at God’s creativity, laughing at God’s audacity to believe in me.
Life is complicated and difficult and confusing – and it has been since the beginning. It can be frightening to try when we don’t know how it’s going to turn out.
God doesn’t always get it right the first time; neither did Jesus – so why should we expect perfection from ourselves?
…or maybe more like 80 verses on helping the stranger.