Not I, Lord

Jesus, how did it feel when you predicted your death, and the disciples said this can never happen?

How about at the table, when you were eating and drinking with your beloved, and warned that betrayal and denial would follow and each disciples said, “Not I Lord.” It can’t be me.

God, how are we so willfully blind? To the racism that is etched into our very DNA, to the violence that happens against school children who can’t pay for lunch.

How is it that we can’t believe that violence is coming… until it does. Storming the capital with Nazi flags of hate and signs that somehow proclaim “Jesus Saves.”

And we disarm people of color, and hide our children under their desks, but refuse to see violence as systematic and problematic.

How is such denial possible?

Did Jesus have a part of him that was in denial, that his people would turn on him…until the disciples fell asleep at the wheel, and then fell asleep again, and again.

Was he holding out hope that Judas would change his mind?

We feel betrayed, but the evil was there all along, like Herod.

Lead us not into temptation to say “this is not America”

America was always this way: violent and racist and ignorant, but pray for us God, because we keep hoping and proclaiming, like the disciples “Not I Lord.”

Open our mouths to say “this is not God, this is not foreordained” help us to take the responsibility that is needed to make the change.

It’s an Epiphany: A Realization

It’s an Apocalypse: An Unveiling that changes all of life.

Please let this be Apocryphal, please let this be an Epiphany.

Help me to shut my mouth when I’m tempted to say “Not I, Lord” or “Not All of Us” or “Everything Will Turn Out Okay.”

Chafe my hands into the work that needs to be done, enfold my mind with the empathy to Listen, Prod my feet to to do the walking.

Set me to work God, set me to do the work:

To protect the vulnerable, to tell the truth, to face the hatred, to love and serve

and to serve and to love.

Change my words to say “Here I am, Lord” I pray.

Amen

Feel free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

#Selah #violence and #thecross

I love the word Selah, the untranslatable cry to God. We have guesses, but we don’t know exactly what it means

For me it translates into the prayer that we don’t know how to pray

Selah

Its the cry out on Maundy Thursday when Jesus is worried about something that we cannot yet conceive, Selah

The cry when the first Muslim judge- Sheila Abdus-Salaam-is found dead, the domestic murder of a teacher-Karen Smith-and her student-Jonathan Martinez-registers as almost normal and when an Asian man-Dr. David Dao–is assaulted to give up his airline seat. Selah.

The cry when it is revealed that one of your friends will betray your teacher, Christ. When the fellowship is still intact, but Friday is coming. Selah

The cry when your leader bombs not one but two countries in the same Fortnight. Selah

The cry when Friday is coming, and you wish this cup can be taken from your lips, but you know it can’t be, so you pray at Gethsemane, and Friday still comes. Selah.

Drought in Africa, Dirty water in Flint, Trans Man outed by a Gay Competitor, Black Lives Still Matter, Missing Teens of Color some of these prayers never seem to end. Selah.

“There’s usually a point in Holy Week when I inform God that I’m really not sure humanity was worth all that.
We’ve reached it.”-@revlucymeg. Selah.

The violence that makes up the Cross is present, its real, its stark and needs to be mourned. Selah.

Selah.

Selah.

 

 

Neighbor? Who?

its been a crazy week. I’ve in essence heard the Good Samaritan story three times.

First time was with Alton Sterling, then Pilando Castile and finally with the Dallas police officers who were targeted. This in the wake of Orlando is wearying.

And then we hear the story of the Good Samaritan and the lawyer asks but…who…who exactly is my neighbor?

My flippant answer is whoever is close enough to annoy you. And as you know people can be pretty far away and still be close enough to annoy you.

My more serious answer is those you are close enough to hurt. This is an amazing thought because you can be very far away–all across the world or thd internet and still be able to hurt someone.

The counter to that is that if you are close enough to hurt someone then you are close enough to hurt someone then you are close enough to help them.

blm

the Good Samaritan story was so revolutionary because the Samaritans were so politically and religiously at odds with one another. They would desecrate each other’s temples, burn each other’s buildings and fight over the same land and water. When Jesus tells this story it angered people because it’s like telling about  Muslim and a Christian or an African American young man and a police officer. This was Jesus’s answer to Who is my neighbor.

The Belhar Confession, which is being adopted by the PCUSA was written by Africa about apartheid. We in the USA don’t seem to have apartheid until you look at the kind of violence that is going on and how it hurts African-Americans  until you look at the kind of violence that is going on and how it hurts police officers.

Belhar Confession is about unity being both a gift of God and our duty. I don’t know what to do about African-Anericans being stopped for minor violations and things escalating so quickly. I don’t know what to do about police officers being targeted for violence. Unity Both a gift and a duty because God says we belong to one another.

We belong to one another because we each of us are called to bind up the wounds of the cops and the African-Americans. We belong to one another because Jesus has loved us into being  showing us how love affirms our??? identity. Christians need to love like Jesus. There are no “buts” I this love, it’s not I love you but… It’s I love you and We belong to each other.

Real love is the kind that takes nothing away from you  it affirms and does nothing but add to your identity  it’s a live not based on your value or progress or perfection. God made us each unique and still belonging to one another. The word of God is not to believe in God and be the same, but love one another and affirm each identity so we add to each other.

Love is a language that doesn’t even compute in the financial, political and corporate world . That is the kind of love we are called to practice because we belong to one another God gives us to one another as a gift and it’s something to also work for. We belong to one another. Who is my neighbor? All those whom we are close enought to help.  This is the word of the Lord  thanks be to God!

 

 

 

 

#peace and #advent #prayer

Prayer of Confession: Lamb of God, we confess that we do not always do peace well. We confess that we are not always the instruments of the kingdom. Reshape us, Lord. Mold us from swords into plowshares, makes us the tools of your peace through the planting of seedlings of hope, joy and love where ever we go, heal our hearts so we might in turn bring healing to others we pray… (Silent Prayer)…Amen