We have come to times that test us. Test our assumptions. Test our courage. Test our humility. Test our fortitude. Test our integrity. Test our willingness to engage with those who disagree. Test our desire to understand – even if what we understand is that we have been wrong. Test our resilience. Test our faithfulness to the Word of God. Test our community. Test our heart and test our hearts.
We have come to a moment in time when it is vital that we plum the depths of our beliefs and our assumptions to know what is of God and what has been warped away from that which God intends. We have come to a crossroads and the choices we make, the ideas we share, the conversations we have, will make all the difference. We have come to a great opportunity to be conscious, to be intentional, to build new relationships, seek new truths, and become community as never before.
We can no longer find comfort in not-knowing. Not-knowing that there is hatred just below the surface. Not-knowing how much fear lurks in people’s daily lives. Not-knowing that there are people who hate others because of how they look or who they love. Not-knowing that poverty is largely an outcome of social, political, and economic choices – not personal laziness. Not-knowing that those of us who are feeling fine, have been successful, and are content with the status quo have been given innumerable benefits that are invisible to us. Not-knowing that many of our neighbors all over this land have been shut out, dismissed, and ignored to the point that they will take no more.
Of course, I believe that every day in a person’s life holds the same import. I believe that every moment in a community’s existence is a crossroad where choices matter. I believe that every season in a nation’s common life is such a test. However, today, we are more aware of what we are called to do and who we are called to be. We are more aware of the urgency and importance of this work.
For those of us who profess to following Jesus, we have the blessing of a road map, a model, and a guide. Not some Jesus carefully crafted to approve of whatever we desire, but Jesus of the Gospels who calls us to another way. Jesus who spoke truth to power. Jesus who ate with outcasts and sinners. Jesus who accepted water from “the enemy”. Jesus who speaks truth, proclaims the way, and gives life – even when he knows that that work and those words will take him directly to the cross.
The Christian faith we profess is a faith that affirms the ongoing need of self-reflection and repentance: taking stock, making amends, and being different. We profess a faith that heals whatever infirmity or ailment (spiritual, physical, emotional, communal) brings us down and threatens death. We profess a faith that proclaims none are perfect, all have failed, and God loves us anyway, always. We profess a faith that says no matter how far we find ourselves from God, God is with us, leading us back, shining light into our darkness. We profess a faith that calls us to humility, openness, awareness of the log in our own eye. We profess a faith that is incarnational, embodied, in the world, active and lively. We profess a faith that calls us to be far more than we can ever be by ourselves, alone – our vision is not clear enough, our hearts not strong enough, our wisdom not full enough, our courage not big enough – we need God and we have God in Christ. We profess a faith that makes us one and makes us community, not because we agree or all think the same, but because we are all beloved by God and baptized into this Body – this body which is comprised of difference, tension, change, challenge, vigor, movement, and depends upon the tension between (just like our physical bodies do)