Monday, January 18, 2010

Blogging Towards Sunday January 24, 2010

What does God want to for the world?  How is/does God accomplish it?  What does that have to do with us?  In the wake of the earthquake in Haiti we ask ourselves the questions that resound through the limitations of our humanity: who are we?  is there a God? what's the connection?

In Sunday's texts we begun the journey of walking as the church through the gospel of Luke and Luke's interpretation of the Jesus experience.  Jesus returns from his temptation to renounce God, to advance himself by selling out, all to come back home.  Maybe he had no where else to go? Maybe he came home to recoup?  Maybe he came home to be consistent with the word he would proclaim in the synagogue in terms of proclaiming the beginning of the Year of Jubilee (Lev 25).  Luke has obviously worked his way carefully through this encounter in order to relate it to us in an intentional way [check out his writing goals].  The story begins with the normal, the routine, the expected: returning home | going to temple | reading from the prophets.  Then there is an explosion of novelty.  The ancient scriptures are happening | coming true | realized | TODAY!

It's about liberation, a word that can seem trite and over-used in our post-colonial, post-modern, post-Obama culture - in particular in this day when we celebrate the vision of MLK Jr.  Yet that reduces it.  It's about LIBERATION: for those in Haiti, those that were slaves in the South, those that are enslaved in the 3rd world, those enslaved by doubt and despair in the 1st world, those that cannot "see" what is hidden.  It's not just a PC-love-fest, it's a radical releasing of the power, purpose and passion of God in the universe, a reversal of the world order that is political, social and spiritual.  And Jesus proclaims that it starts in his home town, then and there.  Yet we believe that it's bigger than that.  Like it says in Deuteronomy 5 we believe that this same promise is for us: here and now.

So how do we live it?  Where does it come from?  How do we find it?

Paul writes to the church in Corinth that faith is given to us, that it's given to us to be lived out in community.  A community of equals diverse in gifts, yet equal in respect, dignity and love of God.  What seems to obvious to us, is and was actually quite radical in the midst of a culture based upon hierarchy, superiority, slavery, inequality and the pursuit of power over others.  A radical new way of being together - not just for the sake of being together - but in order to reflect the promise, hope and passion of the gospel - a new word - a different teaching by Jesus of Nazareth about what it means to be human, loved by God and living in community.  Diversity isn't the goal - it's a gift, a blessing, the reminder that we aren't called to an over-arching forced-upon-us similarity, but a radical affirmation of the unique ways in which we are each created, gifted and saved - and called to participate in working to bring justice, create freedom and share the love that we've first none in God in order to birth the jubilee: a sabbath not of a Saturday, a month or a year - but the intended eschatological destiny of our world.

Are we living into that as persons? as the people of God? as the church?  And if not, what is it that's stopping us: fear of a changing culture, trepidation of a shrinking "church" population, or self-induced feelings of inadequacy?

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