Apr 052012
 

I’ve been mulling a lot this week – seems kind of appropriate, I guess, as it is Holy Week.  Today in particular, on the 44th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., I’ve been doing a lot of mulling on death (I know, I know, who really wants to read about someone doing a lot of mulling on death…. but, there it is).  


I had a friend ask me last week why we celebrate both Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday on the same day.  I wrote him back a couple of paragraphs, and talked about the need to hold in focus Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem as it is related to his crucifixion; but, I keep thinking about it.  It seems important to remember that the way Jesus lived was directly related to the way he died, and was the reason he was killed.  He made people angry enough, hit deeply on enough nerves, and refused to back down on his convictions, that they killed him – brutally, shamefully.  There was nothing glamorous about the way Jesus died.


Part of my mulling this week has had to do with the way we understand the cross, and what it says about the way we understand God; and, in effect, how that is played out in daily life.  To put this in seminary terms: our theology affects our ethics.  Theology and society are inextricably linked, and the dominant understanding of God pushed in most churches today is rooted in the idea that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus served as an atoning sacrifice, given on behalf of a fallen humanity.  This atonement theology too often allows for the continued sacrifice of those who do not fit into a dominant group’s understanding of living faithfully.  Even if we try to apply biblical standards, how do we avoid contradicting ourselves, when the Bible contradicts itself?  How do we know that “we” are right, and “they” are wrong, particularly if we’re reading the same Bible and trying to live faithfully?


What if instead we might shift our theological gaze to the notion that we are all children of God?  Might this allow us to see the “other” as part of the human family with us, and might it allow us to turn the conversation from “who has the greatest sin” to the dangers of denying all people full participation in church and society? Might we then be able to turn the conversation from one that relegates people to issues associated with them, to one of compassion and inclusion?  Rather than saying, “Oh, that person is (insert any group here), so they are (insert any assumption or stereotype here),” might we say, “Oh, that person is a child of God – just like me, and that connects us”?  If we could at least start from that point, is it possible that we could let ourselves be seen, that we could put down some of our anger, or our shame, or our fear about the “other” as a way to actually start seeing one another?  Might the recognition that we share the Holy Spirit to be the thing that binds us together?  I honestly don’t know, but I hope we can.


Just one more thing – in the hope of that Beloved Community for which MLK lived and died.  This video is a recording from my church, done annually on his birthday (lyrics below).  As I type, a spring rain has just started – the pollen is being washed away, the garden is getting a drink, and I am remembering my baptism, filled with gratitude for being a part of this Body, for a Holy Spirit that does not discriminate, and for the challenge to recognize every individual in my human family as a child of God – even those who do not see me as such.



Sleep 

Sleep tonight 
And may your dreams 
Be realized 
If the thunder cloud 
Passes rain 
So let it rain 
Rain down him 
So let it be 
So let it be 
Sleep Sleep tonight 

And may your dreams 
Be realized 
If the thundercloud 
Passes rain 
So let it rain 
Let it rain 
Rain on him


-U2

  One Response to “So, Let it Rain”

  1. …”for a Holy Spirit who does not discriminate” I give thanks.

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