Peace – Prayer – Joy – Love
Clergy in Charlottesville August 2017

In The Face Of Fear & Hate

Child of Love; In The Face Of Fear & Hate

 

  1. Isaiah & Jesus Speaking about Eunuchs & Sewers?
    1. It’s not often that we get to hear about eunuchs and bodily functions connected to sewers, let alone both in the same week!
    2. Considering the whole word of God will do that too you sometimes – that is, it will make you deal with some interesting subjects.
    3. It’s uncanny sometimes, how lectionary readings, preplanned long ago, connect with what’s going on in the current events surrounding us!
  2. Ongoing Display of Slavery to Fear/Hate in our USA
    1. While we have been learning to slip off the bondages of fear & hate, realizing that we are children of love, many voices around our country have been shouting chants of fear and hatred.
      1. Chanting, “You will not replace us.”
      2. Revealing deep seeded fears turning to bigotry and hatred
    2. While we have been listening to reminders of just how much our Heavenly Father loves all of us, each of us, our leaders have been making statements of division and threats of violence.
    3. The atmosphere of fear and hatred at every level has been oppressive and threatens to drown us under its rising dark tide!
      1. It has been affecting my mood & has been “damaging my calm”
      2. Others have confessed just wanting to turn away from it all
      3. The tension feels like an explosive breaking point = more fear
  1. Faith & Bible Used to Justify Fear & Hate
    1. Throughout the history of Christendom, we have seen the Scriptures of our faith used to justify the oppression of other people.
    2. Throughout the history of Christendom, we have seen the Scriptures of our faith used to justify violence in the name of the Prince of Peace.
    3. I sense that we are still struggling to learn what scripture is saying:
      1. We once used it to justify slavery & then segregation.
      2. We once used it to justify sexism & disenfranchising women.
      3. & even the persecution & criminalization of interracial marriages
  1. I think, in all these cases we are embarrassed to have used scripture to justify things that were just our own dominant cultural preferences and, quite frankly, were opposed to the heart of God.
  2. Sometimes I even imagine Jesus asking us the same question he asked Peter in our reading, “Are you also still without understanding?”
  1. A House of Prayer For ALL Nations/Peoples
    1. And yet, the Good News for us–even if we are still with out understanding is that God has a place for us…all of us…not some of us;
      1. Not just white people; white supremacy has no place in Christianity
      2. Not just men; Jesus never called for subjugating half of humanity
      3. Not just one country or political party; God is not a nationalist
  1. Scripture assures us that all humanity is created in the Image of God; we’re all, every one of us, image bearers of a loving & all-powerful God.
    1. The eunuch is not cut off (did Isaiah make a pun?) and is instead memorialized and given a name in the LORD.
    2. The foreigner is not outcast & isolated, and is instead brought into the very presence of the LORD and given joy.
    3. The Apostle Paul declares in his letter to the Galatians that, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
  1. The near & present Kingdom of God is not just for some people. Earthly Empires may be for some people, but the Kingdom is all people.
    1. Jesus sent his disciples out to proclaim that Kingdom to all people.
    2. Jesus himself welcomed all kinds of people
    3. The Church should be a house of prayer for ALL people–together
  1. We Maintain Justice & Speak Love To ALL People
    1. Lets refrain from doing what is evil & not defile our hearts & mouths
      1. Perfect Love Drives Out Fear – Don’t slip into those chains again
      2. Holy Spirit search our hearts & reveal any prejudices we hold
    2. Lets not honor the LORD w/our lips while our hearts are far from God
      1. The Apostle James says that we lie if we confess with our lips that we love God but hate our brothers & sisters
      2. Holy Spirit teach us to love you & to love our all of our neighbors
    3. Lets do what is right & maintain justice for all people
      1. Ask our leaders who attended the prayer retreat about the Christian practices of Opposing Injustice & Fighting Oppression
      2. Holy Spirit save us from repeating the Church’s silence through the Civil Rights Movement of the last century. Help us speak love!
    4. Wading back into the Storm of Fear & Hate today
      1. The Good News is that We are children of Love; beloved heirs to the eternal Kingdom of God
      2. The Good News is that We are peacemakers in a violent & divided world full of Empires competing & defeating each other.
      3. The Good News is that When we see the strong wind and the waves, we need not be terrified but we can trust in the voice of truth who breaks every chain of bondage and slavery & gives us all a new identity

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