Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

Jesus said and Jesus says.

Black Lives Matter Jesus breathes through the black families having the difficult talk about the dangers of having a different color skin

Black Lives Matter Jesus states on the wind, blowing the truth into the ears of the black mothers and fathers who are worried about their children,

Black Lives Matter Jesus murmurs inside the black children trying to walk, talk and play in a world where their existence can be seen as dangerous.

Black Lives MatterJesus assured the black prisoners in jail, disproportionately arrested and abused.

Black Lives Matter Jesus screams with the black man  and woman murdered by cops or white supremacist, or both, Jesus says this as they scream for help, scream for breath, and  scream for their mother.

Black Lives Matter Jesus coaxes to the Trans black woman as she negotiates walking the streets, trying to stay safe.

Black Lives Matter, Jesus’s never-ending sigh finally filters through to the world of whiteness and privelege

Black Lives Matter Jesus is whispering it in the ears of white women who were afraid of “the unidentified black man”

Black Lives Matter Jesus is chanting in the subconscious of the average white man trying to go about his business as normal

Black Lives Matter Jesus is singing it to the ears of white children, trying to sleep as they really realize that their friends of color were in danger

Black Lives Matter Jesus prays in the churches, raising his voice to the heavens.

Black Lives Matter Jesus says, all day every day.

Do you hear him?

A Prayer for the Protestors

Psalm 73: A Plea for Relief from Oppressors Rewritten

 

Black Lives Matter | Keppler Speakers

Feel free to use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy

NazarethFirst? Nah!

The first time the people riot in Luke is in response to Jesus preaching in his hometown. (hinting at his eventual crucifixion by the state) There he proclaims the word of the Lord to the poor, lost, forgotten and marginalized.

He talks about that the Word of God, he says he is there to fulfill the word of God

and the People of Nazareth say “Great, me first”

Jesus says, “Nah”

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Then they get mad, because they want to be first. Because they think that if they don’t go first God won’t get to them.

It should be NazarethFirst or JewsFirst or AmericaFirst: Those who are the most entitled should go first in the human world.

Not to Jesus, tho, for Jesus says I’m helping the most needy ones, the forgotten ones.

During the inauguration speech the only piece I felt like struck home was when Donald Trump said was “No one will ever be ignored again”

Do not be confused, we humans often look for a human savior/king. Lots of the Old Testament is about humans begging God for a King they don’t need. When Donald Trump did his alter call for patriotism, insisting that it negated all prejudice, we Christians all shook our heads and said. Only JESUS does that. God calls not to nationalism, but to the forgotten ones.

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. When their breath departs, they return to the earth;  on that very day their plans perish.–Psalm 146

Because people DO feel forgotten! About 3 million women gathered on all 7 continents and march to draw attention to all that gets ignored. If that isn’t a counter to blind nationalism I don’t know what is.

These women marched for a variety of reasons, and yet the same thing

They marched for

Women’s Rights, Black Lives matter, the queer community, the Muslims, the immigrants, poor in the rust belt, Flint water, Indigenous rights, survivors of assault, climate change, sex workers, the poor, the disabled, poor.They marched

They marched for their children and husbands and communities.

But most of all, they marched for the forgotten & ignored. 

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God, who made heaven and earth,  the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith for ever;  who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free;  the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.–Psalm 146

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Our God is the one who fights on behalf of these people. Our God is not a human or a politician, our God is the God of the marginalized, the lost and forgotten.

Jesus made that clear. Its not about being first or getting the most. Its about making sure NO ONE GETS IGNORED.

We need to do this work, the time has begun.

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Luke 4: 14- 30

14 Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me

to bring good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives

and recovery of sight to the blind,

to let the oppressed go free,

19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’

20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’ 22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’ 23He said to them, ‘Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, “Doctor, cure yourself!” And you will say, “Do here also in your home town the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.” ’ 24And he said, ‘Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s home town. 25But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up for three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; 26yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27There were also many lepers* in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.’ 28When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. 29They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. 30But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

#GoodFriday (?!?) #emptiness

Good Friday is an emptiness so loud it echoes

The taste of hopelessness dry upon the the tongue

Its is the silence of all the voices that are not allowed to speak

My God, My God why have you abandoned Me?

Hell existing wherever and whenever love is impossible

Humans visit Hell all too frequently

When terrorists bomb, when children die, when hate masquerades as institutions or gospel or love

When our bodies betray us, when we are at the absolute end of everything we have to give, when sanctuary eludes us

It is the moment when we become stuck in the mire, knowing that even if someone wanted to help….they couldn’t

Emptiness Echoes

Somehow, Christ descended into Hell

The third day he rose again from the dead, conquering even death, even emptiness, even Hell

Making Love exist in impossible places

For Jesus came not to condemn the world, but to save it

Emptying himself

Because God loves the world, this impossible world

 

 

Building the #Nativity: (#christmas) Mary & Joseph

There are very few pictures of Mary and Joseph that are not Joseph pulling Mary on the Donkey for Bethlehem.

donkey

We aren’t there yet, though.

Besides, they aren’t Even LOOKING at each other!

But I can tell that Mary and Joseph aren’t really pictured before Jesus. Even though, they had some kind of relationship as they were engaged. Let’s face it, Mary and Joseph probably were from the same small town and knew each other really well, no matter how well they knew each other.

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So this week we filled in the first characters by telling of when Gaberial tells Mary and then Joseph about Jesus coming. Its interesting because as the artwork shows, we clearly do not picture them together.

There are two distinctly similar portions to these accounts. The first of which were that Mary and Joseph were the afraid.

Can you imagine how they each felt seeing an angel? How worried they were about this unknown, and surprising child? Jesus Christ is probably the most surprising child ever!!

No wonder they were afraid.

Today is also the Hope week of Advent. You know what hope is? ITs saying yes when you don’t know what will happen.

That’s Mary and Joseph.

That’s parenthood too, when you have a child you don’t really know what is going to happen.

My mom remembers women who swore they would come back to work after having a baby, and then realize they couldn’t stay home. Then she knew others who were trying to stay home who were going crazy and needed to go back to work. This taught her that parenthood is one of those things you have ideas about, but you don’t really know until you get there.

And even if you have a partner in parenting, that person wouldn’t necessarily parent the same way. In fact sometimes what works for one parent doesn’t work for the other.

In a way we are all Mary and Joseph, trying to figure out how to relate to Christ. Each of us working to get to know him in our own way.

Faith is a bit by parenting. You have ideas about how it should work, but you don’t really know what practices and theories work for you until you put it into practice. Active, Contemplative, Environmental, Introspective there are many ways to practice faith.

I think of how afraid Mary is that Joseph is going to leave her, and Joseph so afraid about the leaving he thinks they must do. Each of them being afraid, and lonely in that fear.

Church is unique too, because just like a family, even though our practices are different other people’s faith practices can inform our own. Even if those particular practices are never our cup of tea, we can still strengthen one another by sharing about our faith.

Family is that way too!

Last year I talked about how we are the family in the waiting room, waiting for Christ and becoming family. We are becoming family through church.

When Joseph hears that he should keep the baby & Mary, that’s the moment they start to become Family. Before Christ even arrives.

As we build the nativity, we might each be drawn to different characters, but look at the variety of family, friends and strangers that come to see Jesus. This is because God invites each and every one of us to become a part of the family.

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Heck, Jesus wasn’t really the son of Joseph, but the practice of inviting others to be a part of the family start with Joseph, continues with the Nativity,then the Jews, then eventually we are all adopted as brothers and sisters in Christ.

I think of when Joseph is no longer alone in his fears, of the moment when he tells Mary what he was hoping and worrying about Jesus, and Mary shares back. This is the moment they become family, before Jesus is even born.

(Here is our version of the family, we made with the kids as Our First Building the Nativity Ornaments)

This is what I think happened then, even tho there is no such art of Mary and Joseph

We do not have to be a certain ethnicity or worship a certain way or even read the Bible in a certain language. That’s because the Good News of Jesus Christ is translatable. Christianity can fit into any culture (when we do it right).

We are all invited to come and join the nativity, so join us as we build the nativity this Advent season

 

 

 

The Anglo-American, Caucasian #Christmas, War on #Christmas & #Starbucks Coffee

Apparently Starbucks selling coffee in plain red cups is seen by some as another sign of the so-called “War on Christmas.” And rightly so. How dare they crowd out Advent and Christmas with the color reserved for Pentecost? I only drink liturgically correct coffee.

(Above is a light-hearted post from a colleague of mine)

Did you know the liturgical color for Advent is actually purple or blue? And that the color for Christmas is just plain white (no doubt for holiness?)

The war on Christmas is really a harkening for days when Christianity all looked the same….Christianity and Christians…and America, back when “true” Americans all looked the same and part of being American was being a certain brand of Christianity.

The War on Christmas is not really a war and its not really about Christmas, its a culture trying to come to grips with how the world is changing

Look the outrage at the cups, the outrage at the outrage of the cups, and those who are tired of the whole debate and feel that the Christians who are talking about how ridiculous the other Christians are being make for a good cultural discussion about meaning.

I worked in a Korean American church for a while. It was the melding between a 1.5 generation Korean congregation (those who are truly of both Korean and American heritage) +their young truly American, but ethnically Korean, children.

This congregation joined a regular small, had their heyday in the 1950s Caucasian Congregation.

I was on staff as the Christian Ed Coordinator, but realistically a lot of my job was translating.

Translating between the older Anglo-Christians, the Gen Y Koreans and the up and Coming Millenial-American-ethnically Korean Children.

Advent candles

Aren’t Advent Candles Taught in Seminary?

Ruth, a saint and mother to us all at church asked me this when their Korean-American Pastor didn’t do them.

No, I said, thats an American Tradition, not a Christian one.

Then I explained that Advent differs from place to place (I’ve lived all over America) and that even the words are different and in different order, depending where you came from.

Oh.

We did do Advent Candles, I was put in charge (as cultural translator) extradinare.

So the question is this?

What is at the root of this question about Starbucks (whose CEO is Jewish) and red cups?

As Christianity and Religion changes, as being American changes, perhaps we are asking the wrong questions.

And if people do things differently than you traditionally do…ask about it, learn about what people do and why.

And if you want to learn more, go to church, we have highly educated people, I spent 4 years at Princeton, who know about how things are done and why they are done that way, and how things are changing and why that’s exciting too…

Other thoughts on Red Cups

http://emilycheath.com/2015/11/07/christians-red-cups-and-priorities/

http://marthaspong.com/2015/11/09/more-red-cups/

#rejectedsermontitles: we are cannibles! #Jesus=bread of life

Many thanks to Mihee Kim-Kort who discussed the scripture with me for This Everyday Holy Blog which is at the base of this sermon

John 6

Eating as an act is interesting, it is something every human has to do to stay alive.

Ever have a really good meal. The kind where you sit around afterwards and dissect what it was you loved about it? Almost reliving the meal and sharing with one another.

If I were God I probably would have made all food the same, to fit our needs. Here humans is grass, eat it and be nourished. Boom! Done! You are full, but Jesus promises not to just fill us up with some kind of food, but to nourish us in a new way.

But our God instead creates a myriad of flavors for us to try. In fact there are so many that eating a meal with another person creates a special kind of fellowship.

So, we all eat together, and then afterwards we can dissect the meal together. Talking about what was good, and sharing in that experience. We are in essence eating one another’s experiences and sharing into it.

What fills me up, and what I need is probably different than what you need (for instance I am a vegetarian and have been since the womb, meat made my mother feel ill). My husband would state that meat is necessary to meet his needs. What Jesus offers us is not just sufficency, not just enough to feed the whole world, but the right kind of food for you and for me. The food is different, but the experience is uniting. This is why our God is the God of justice because She meets us where we are and leads us to where we need to go.

Jesus is a prime example of that in his ministry, meeting people wherever they are: being stoned, up a tree, by a well even on a cross (if you are a follower of my blog you may notice this as one of my themes). Jesus meets us where we are.

But if you think about it, meal time is the epitome of what it is to experience church. It is to experience the Holy Spirit moving, each in our own way, and then sharing that experience. Ideally, Worship would be like a GREAT meal, where each of us imbibe in worship and then sit down together and talk about which instance of experiencing God–reliving it for others and inviting them to consume that experience with us. We, in that instant, become the Body of Christ. Thus making us cannibles: Eating Christ and Each Other over and over again.

Only God could set up Worship so that shared experiences and differential understandings of scripture and worship could actually DEEPEN our understanding of God.

Let’s Eat!

Food Tripping: Church & Food

If you have any question about what kind of person Jesus is, remember this, his ministry began and ended with food! It started with the wedding at Cana and Ended with the Last Supper

John 2

New International Version

2 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman,[a] why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.[b]

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

Food is good, it is one of the few things we do that is both necessary for our very existence, and pleasurable at the same time. Whenever I worry about who God is, I remember that God invented chocolate….what kind of God creates so many different foods with so many varieties in the world? I’m afraid to say if humans created food we would have created one substance that is of some nutritional value, and bland. Our God is more creative than that.

In my family we have something called food tripping, where you describe a food you love so much you space out from remembering it….

In fact, just one food can elevate an entire meal. Its likely your favorite restaurant isn’t really your favorite because everything tastes good there, but rather because they serve your favorite food. (I’m actually a sucker for either awesome bread or desserts) For example when I make pizza if I can have fresh basil or fresh mozerella the pizza tastes better–all it takes is one good ingredient to elevate the entire pizza 🙂

Recently there has been a growing fascination to where food comes from, whether it is local or organic, how it is processed, and lets not forget the Food Network. The source of our Food is compelling.

The reason why we are so fascinated with food, is that the more we know the food’s story, the better it tastes! We take pleasure in things that are creative acts. Things that are unique. This is why my grandmother’s bisqick coffee cake and my father’s bread taste different than any other versions of this food (even though, both recipes are available to everyone). Knowing that your food came from the local farm via the local farmer’s market, learning about food makes it taste better.

Now imagine that you are at a wedding and you get Jesus wine. A wine that serves to both elevate the entire meal but also just tastes better because its from JESUS! The source is good, therefore the food is good. Isn’t the spirit of the meal half of how a meal tastes anyway?

What if we thought about churches more as meals than programs. What if we tried to serve up our favorite pieces of worship–1 or 2 things, with Jesus as the source. What if instead of trying to offer a buffet of everything (or even the most modern whatevers) we served a nourishing meal with the hospitality that is in Christ’s spirit, one that we can offer in JOY!

After all, this is a meal we are celebrating, its abundance, its being drunk on the Holy Spirit, its understanding that the invitation is from Christ, and no other can make it better.

I think if we talked more about the source of our nourishment, and if we served the love with which it was made, church will be transformed from a boring form of sustenance that simply gives us the basic nourishment we need, to one where JESUS gives us the SPIRITs and we are invited to CELEBRATE THE LOVE TOGETHER.

How wonderful that would be!

PS Check out this Ted Talk There is some interesting claims about the creative act of humanity and how the creative act is what makes art valuable (ie why we like originals more than copies). i.e. Creativity and Relationship is what makes things pleasurable for us. We all know God is THE creator, making each of us a unique work of art, and we are invited to be co-creators with him. What kind of creative food can we serve up in church these days!!!!