But what we have to work not miss with our 21st century eyes and ears is that she should not have been in this space at all. Women don’t talk to men in public. Certainly, when whatever request they have made is denied, they do not challenge the decision. Nevertheless, she persists. She is powerless, yet she refuses to behave that way. She has no recourse, but she refuses to let the matter drop.
Worshiping at the altar of individualism run amuck, we are rewarded with a moral superiority that allows us, if we so choose, to blame the poor for being poor, women for being raped and people of color for being shot. We have learned to use the very scripture that is intended to tell us the story of God’s great love for all of us in ways that make it an ally of the very evil we are called to resist.
In reality, we have input into the actions of one person. Namely, ourselves. How then do we hear the call this morning to be imitators of God?
If God is still speaking, then certainly God is still sending. Sending us to the places we go and the people we see each day. Now, as much as any time in history, the whole of our human community is in dire need of a message of hope, grace, love, acceptance, justice and mercy.
Now is the time for you to be the missionary that never has been yet
And yet must be.
Do I know what happened an that first Easter? How the stone was rolled away? What it was like for those disciples to encounter Jesus after the crucifixion? No, I don’t know. But when I hear about and see people doing the kinds of things that I believe Jesus would be doing if he were here with us now, I cannot help but think that he is here with us now, alive.
I don’t have to tell you all reasons and all the ways that you could choose to despair. From gun violence and school shootings to sexual abuse and human trafficking, the reasons to turn away from the world are numerous. Yet, God does not turn away from us. God turns to us with a certain kind of empathy to say surely the days are coming. . . when God will put God’s law within us, and will write it on our hearts; and God will be our God, and we shall be God’s people.
God’s intent was never to narrow that love down to me and mine and those that I could convince to think like I think. No, the flow is in entirely the opposite direction, broad, expansive, inclusive, Loving the whole world.
Yet, we miss it. We abuse it. We resist it. We twist it. We fashion it into something that better suits our purposes. Rather than losing our lives for the sake of the gospel, we lose the Gospel for the sake of our lives.
She added a postscript to her letter. It reads, “I had to look your church up. You are 2188 miles away, but managed to reach us!” Reach her indeed. There is a whole lot of ground between Vermont and Texas. But there is not so much that it kept you from being hands and feet of Christ. There is not so much that it kept you from doing on earth as it is heaven. Often, the barriers of distance and time are breached when God is working through God’s people. Sometimes we are the ones God is working through and sometimes we the ones that receive the benefit of God working through others.
How is it that the 2nd Amendment to our constitution has become a protection for the rights of every disturbed, demented and hateful person who decides to load a gun and start shooting children?