Here is how crazy making our world has become due to the constant stoking of fear.
I preached a sermon on Sunday using the highly subversive words “social justice”. I made mention of Glenn Beck’s (Fox News) warning to good people of faith that if their church is using the term “social justice” they really are fronting for Nazis and Communists. I took exception to the advice he had for followers in such churches to run for the doors and never come back. It seemed to me, particularly on Palm Sunday when Jesus was clearly saying “no” to justice as practiced by Rome, that we ought celebrate the work of weaving justice in the way of Jesus. Such justice is social in its very core.
What I am aware of is that the word “social” in our culture instantly morphs for some into the word “socialist”, the new cuss word du jour. Instantly, some pew folk are whisked from a contemplation of the gospel into an internal defense against same.
In men’s Bible study this morning, we read together the text for Holy Thursday in which Jesus kneels at the feet of his disciples, takes their tired and dusty flesh into his hands, and offers grace and compassion. The text ends with the reminder that our call as disciples is to love one another.
To love means to listen deeply to one another. To love means to know our connection with the well-being of one another. To love means to let go of the cudgels that fear would have us wield.
To love means doing the astoundingly hard work of living as disciples, one with the other, lest crucifixions continue. It was fear that eventuated in the mangle of the cross.
Please God, let us live love.
There are those who say with all kinds of conviction that the teachings of Jesus have been so contorted that they can’t be named as relevant.
Not so. It seems that everywhere I look in these days I see grace of the Holy kind. The church is stirring.
We are stirring into our midst compassion, laughter, hope and courage. The result is a community willing to be far from perfect, very human, and open to transformation. We come together with the power of the Christ as our hub, and we trust that the wobbly of community living will not overtake us.
Given that headlines in these days are full of hate speak born of fear-incitement politicking, I breathe deep thanks for a community that seeks to live in a different way. As the people of Jesus, we intentionally sniff for the Holy in each other, knowing it resides in us each, as well. Hurled epitaphs break the Body. We seek another way.
So, having a community where the Way is practiced is salvation for the hope-clingers in these days of rage-speak. Mayhap we will take to the streets and share the power of another way. It is time.
It’s scooter weather! I rolled out my pink scooter yesterday and sniffed the wind like a dog as I zipped down the street. There is life, and sound, and smell and the wind reached for me like a long-lost friend.
I’m visiting my daughter and her partner today. The plane will deposit me in Denver where I will have three days of wandering streets and reading while Leah works, followed by adventures in the company of dearly beloveds. Will I ever get over the wonder of being a mother crazy for her babies? I hope not.
Retreat with 19 women from church is shimmering gift. To make house together, to sing and to laugh and to open and to be in the company of sisters in faith who share the wild hope of being people of Jesus. It is sometimes too much to take in, this beauty, but I did. And I do.
And oh, I am full of hope that this issue of providing health care for all might be moving toward the practice of grace. I read of the growing rancor between people so convinced that there is not enough to go around and so convinced that someone is trying to take from them what has been gained and I wonder how it is that the gospels can be reconciled with allowing the poor to fend for their (please keep them invisible) selves?
Until all are fed and known as kin, we will be a people bent-over by fear. That is not one of my favorite things.
But it is spring, and love is, and celebrations await, and we are a people of hope, are we.
I spent the night with two long time friends. One put me in my first pulpit, the other was a part of my heart before I was even born. They are married to each other and wildly in love.
And one of them is seeking to chase the tentacles of cancer from his body. It began in his bladder, did this invasion, and it has moved to his fine and voracious brain. It has been two years of doctoring and drugging and changing eating habits and praying and breathing and surgeries and they are tired and aware of the succulent thing that is life.
Honest conversation comes easily when time seems finite. Love is voiced freely when each moment is realized as precious. The warm of sun, dreaming of dreams, speaking of gratitude and wonder; all are unwrapped as gift and marveled over with trembling and tender heart.
Oh, the mercy that is life and love. Unwrapped, please God, in the temple of our hearts.
Well, after many conversations about which one of our six children would present us with the next heart to love, the answer arrived on Sunday. I now count a grand-dog as kin.
We’ve always been dog people. My children grew up with a pound Golden Retriever who detested other dogs but loved us (and bread) with a priceless passion. Bivio was the nanny and keeper of comings and goings and snugglings and rompings. Zoe, our current dog, is a Black Lab (mostly). She is gray of muzzle, lumpy and creaky and walking grace.
And now, there is Chela. She lives in Denver with my daughter and her partner. It seems she was wandering the parking lot at Chase’s work. My daughter Leah has always wanted to be the kind of person that her aunt Anne is: the kind that dogs in all of their core wisdom come to when they need a good home. Chela has found home with Leah and Chase and in a week, I get to meet her.
Love is an expansive thing. There are nooks and crannies in our hearts that only the liquid and loving eyes of dogs can fill. So when the opportunity to love wanders in, the brave of heart offer welcome, knowing that from this time onward, family time will be noted by the era of the dog of the day.
For Leah and Chase, this is the time of Chela.