If I am zealous in faith
but do know not peace,
I am a dangerous firebrand.
If I kneel before the LORD
but cannot stand beside my neighbor,
I am a self-righteous Judas.
If I preach “Christ is near”
but shame those who cry to Jesus,
I am a false and jealous prophet.
If I shout out God’s praises
but refuse to resist injustice,
I am a faithless narcissist.
If I build glorious altars
but do not tear down dividing walls,
I am a godforsaken disciple.
Faith is not a solo experience or a self-serving endeavor. Faith cannot love God and hate a stranger. Faith is not simple or perfect or grandiose. Faith holds mystery, knows pain, and practices curiosity. Faith worships and welcomes, waits and works. Faith dwells in love, walks in peace, and joins in hope.
Reflecting on the lectionary texts for
the 10th Sunday after Pentecost (A),
patterned after 1 Corinthians 13
From 30,000 feet in the air, you do not look like an image of God. You barely look like the landscape, and the landscape is just a background to the video game of drone warfare.
From 30,000 feet in the air, your tears are only a poster image to convict my prayers. Tomorrow it will be another’s suffering that reminds me to ask God what can be done before I spend the day doing nothing.
From 30,000 feet in the air, your laughter cannot teach me God’s joy and your hands cannot reach out to me with God’s peace. I have stained glass rituals, long walks in the park, and book groups for that.
From 30,000 feet in the air, your song cannot be heard for its praise or its protest. I can only interpret a war cry across the distortions of power and bias and segregated experience, but I don’t have time to invest in my own translation.
From 30,000 feet in the air, you do not look like an image of God, and my faith is self-righteously safe from the questions you might ask of it.
on Matthew 17:12
TODAY: Taking each step with peace.
By your grace, O God,
may I do so.
TODAY: Offering each word for peace.
By your inspiration, O Spirit,
may I do so.
TODAY: Extending each greeting in peace.
By your teaching, O Christ,
may I do so.
on 1 Samuel 16:4
For yokes to break
and whips to fray,
for armor to crumble
and guns to disintegrate,
for enemies to repent
and the powerful to atone,
for the rich to repay
and war plans to burn,
for bombs to retreat
and arrogance to perish,
for hatred to lament and
self-righteousness to be embarrassed,
O merciful God, we pray these things
for the sake of your name and your justice.
on Isaiah 9:4-5
What we have not imagined, O Christ,
you have called into being:
the radical repair of relationships,
the unusual alliance of predator & prey,
the unexpected repentance of the aggressor.
What we have not embodied, O Christ,
you have required of our being:
harmonizing instead of grandstanding,
generosity at the expense of selfishness,
faithfulness to neighbor rather than disloyalty.
What we have not committed to, O Christ,
now create in the world and in us:
humility & love, justice & reparation.
And if we will not contribute to these fruits,
then O Christ be the ax at our roots and grow something new.
cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals