Who doesn't hate it to be scammed, to be made the fool, to be caught walking around in the world with a little or a lot less information? Is being embarrassed enough humility? If we are not humiliated, should we inflict ourselves in order to be made well? Our choices of response have proven inadequate. To strike back? To hate? To never trust anyone, ever?
Last night I started reading a book. A black man's letter to a church denomination he loves. A voice crying to those of us in the wilderness of a dying, white church. There is some hope of resurrection, but not without the dying. The choices are fewer these days than ever before. Wake up or die.
My waking up did not happen like Luther's mythical ride in a thunderstorm. I can't even put my waking up in the past tense of WOKE. It is still, for me, a wake. I am still at the funeral burying my foolishness and gullibility. I am trying not to fill myself with the empty calories of shame and bitterness to humiliate myself. Mostly I am listening and marinating in what I hear.
One night in a former congregation, there was an end-of-the-year celebration in the evening for our Pre-K children and their family. My role was leading their weekly chapel service on Wednesday morning. The light from the 2-story high stained glass window of Jesus with arms uplifted blazed like a laser into little eyes wincing in the pews. But this program happened in the evening. No light through the window. No shining colors only the texture of the lead shaping Jesus face and body. A little boy became excited, caught my eye and waved me to come to him. I came. He said as he pointed at the window, "Pastor Deb, look! Jesus looks like me!" I looked at the black face of Jesus and back to the black little boy. It wasn't a time for humiliation or shame. It was time to share his joy.
In the book I am reading it suggested- no stated -that when Jesus died on the cross, he rose again for those who are suffering and oppressed. The white church of a white Jesus is dying. It has some serious dying to do. It has some "Come to Jesus" moments of reckoning. It has no time for self-flagellation and shame. It is time to grab hold of the grace we are so proud of and break some walls down and some windows while we are at it. That will cost a lot of money and require a lot of courage. We have some dyin' to do before the new day comes. Justice is seen best when it is done.
I had lunch with a couple of people who are working their hearts out to feed the poor, care for the homeless, walk with the sick. They don't have time to hear how badly we feel or listen to our politics. They can feed 80 homeless people a meal for about $200. They need an exam table that costs $2000. to open a health clinic. They need $1800. for a new electrical box so they can have power in that clinic. If you are interested in doing justice today, email me. I will send you the name/address of these people who are the open window of the love of Christ.