It is indeed time for the American church, namely the white members within it, to wake up to the reality of our country as it is today, as it has been, the reality of all those who suffer under the weight of oppression and violence. We who wash our hands of responsibility for what is happening in our country are asleep to the truth.
Maybe these metaphors about armor and evil are about protection, not aggression; about defense, not offense. These symbols of war and violence are inverted to symbols of peace and nonviolence… whatever the “battle” is—whether it’s personal, political, or somewhere in between—the defensive, protective, peaceful “armor” is the same.
What are the broken places you notice? What broken places have been restored in your own life? Knowing we are a people restored can only fuel the drive to become a restorative people.
On my walk home I asked myself, is this what Jesus meant by “Go therefore and make disciples?” Is this what commissioned ministry truly is, to be sent out into the world to serve Gods purposes by meeting people right where they are?mI started wondering how could I, a recovering drug addict who has done things that I have a hard time forgiving myself for, could be commissioned to share life with others in the name of our loving savior, Jesus Christ.
You. Are. Loved. You are treasured by the One who peppers the sky with stars. This Parent doesn’t love us abstractly, but specifically; individually, but also as part of a wider human family. And here’s the thing: God doesn’t have to, but God chose to, a long time ago.
Sometimes we crave the grounding of a hallelujah—and this is the key—not to escape our problems or to wash our hands of our responsibility to live as God’s loving, generous, justice-seeking people, but to remember our place in the world. We need to praise so that we can remember who we are, whose we are, and what is within and outside of our control.
Not only are the psalms of lament raw and intimate in their honesty, but it’s significant that they made it into the Psalter, the official prayerbook/hymnal of Jerusalem’s Temple, and later into the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. They’re meant to be read and heard. They’re meant to be prayed. Lament is an old practice from a culture a world away, but it’s supposed to become ours, too.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” I’m convinced that’s the word we need to hear this morning. We need to hear it on a personal level and we definitely need to hear it on a social level. It’s worth reflecting on where (or in whom) we put our trust because we live in especially anxious times.
The one thing that has not changed, the one thing that will not change, is the faithfulness of God. But here’s the thing: God’s faithfulness is most visible in the rear-view mirror. That’s true for a church. That’s true for our personal lives. Providence reveals itself most clearly in retrospect.
I think God, who is one being in three divided parts, is present amid our diversity. God fashions multiplicity, disrupts homogeneity, places different languages among us. And then, after dividing us up, God calls us brothers and sisters, children of God, heirs of God’s future together.