So whether we are talking about thirst people in the Arizona desert or LGBTQ teenagers who are being bullied . . . Whether we are talking about quality healthcare for the elderly and the poor or justice and inclusion for people of color. . . Weather we are talking about families being able to earn a wage that leaves some time left in their week to be family or women being able to make their own decisions about their bodies — we are talking about the same thing, a refusal to accept the prevailing narrative, the spirit of this age and a capacity to see a world brought to life by mercy and compassion, hope and promise, grace and love of God.
So the Apostle Paul prays for us today that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened as we come to know Jesus so that we can see and know the world not as it is but as God created it and intends for it to be again.
God’s specialty is messes – redeeming them, restoring, reconciling, resurrecting. In all the times and all the ways we get it wrong, God is there to hold us and to hug us til it comes ‘round right. Not as the world gives—in exchange for something, but only as God gives, freely, unconditionally and forever.
There are more of us than we can count from every nation, every tribe, every people and every language ready to cry out in a loud voice “Salvation.” If we are different in every imaginable way, what we have in common is that we have all in our own way and in our own time lived through our particular ordeal. Some more than others to be sure, but to each of us and to all of us there is one seated on the throne offering shelter, food and something to drink. One who knows who we are, what we have been through and why it is that there are tears on our cheeks that need to be wiped away.
The proof of Easter is not an empty tomb, it is a living body. When I see you be Christ to one another, I see Easter happening. Why do I believe resurrection happened on that first Easter all those years ago, because I see it happening again and again in your care and concern for students in our school, in your assistance to the needy in our community, in the food you bring to share through the food shelf, in the way you cook for those who are sick or bereaved, in the way you surround one another with love and prayer when difficult times arise, in the way you speak out and you speak up for those who need allies in this world, in the way share hope and help with refugees and immigrants, in the way you are the living body of Christ to one another.
God looks at the puzzle of humanity, every piece and every person and God says these are my people. The ones who know me and ones who think they know me. The ones who love me and the ones who hate me. The straight ones and the Gay ones and the trans ones. The rich ones and the poor ones and all the ones in between. God thinks we are all Gods people. Gods way is to connect with all of us, know all of us, love all of us.
So the task before us in this Lenten season is to see what we can do to make our thought, our ways more like God’s thoughts and God’s ways. Until we see ourselves and each other and every human being as God sees us.
We spend more on weapons and war than Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Britain and Japan combined. Yet, we are keen for everyone to see our moto, In God we Trust, on all our money. Talk about using the Lord’s name in vain. If Jesus words are true, that our hearts will be where we put our treasure, then the gods we seem to trust the best are Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman and Raytheon.
We know that church is not a building. It is our lives shared together loving God and neighbor. Casting ourselves into a hurting world, we discover the richness of living a life that finds its rest in God. Whether we are part of an institution, a congregation or an individual follower of Christ, we are always being called to the realization that our being, our existence rests in God. No matter where our leaving and following may take us, God is there with us. No matter whether our leaving and following is our choice or the result something beyond our control, God is there with us. No matter what, God is there with us.