A Love Big Enough

People say  deep, profound, and true things. This morning I read this thought from Sarah Bessey, “If I could only preach one message for the rest of my life, here it is: The love of God is bigger, wilder, more wonderful, more beautiful, more healing, more alive than you even dare to hope. And it’s for you”

I preach most every week and my prayer before I begin worship is along these lines. Please God let me proclaim a love big enough on this day. The church tends to “majot in the minors.” While it’s true the church is a complex organization, we are good at distraction.. It’s a typical frustration for my friends in ministry, our affinity for “stepping over dollars to pick up dimes.”

I have at least one conversation each day that reminds me that the truth of God’s love is too important to busy ourselves with anything other than sharing this good news. The struggle someone has with the perception that they are not enough. The feeling that God is a small God with no room for them. The lost ability to see wonder and beauty in creation. Losing hope that they can be alive in this world, rather than simply going through the motions and marking our days.

We need this simple, yet profound truth that Sarah Bessey offers. “The love of God is bigger, wilder, more wonderful, more beautiful, more healing, more alive than you even dare to hope.” This is the proclamation we need to make over and over. These are the words that draw us back to why we do this. If we get this right, pretty much everything else will fall into place.

A love big enough. For all of us. For everyone. For You

Grace and peace

Tulsa, Charlotte, and the International Day of Peace

It seems every day of the year is marked by some special occasion or item to celebrate. Today is an important one. As I write this, it is the International Day of Peace. At first glance, sounds a bit fluffy, but it should be serious business. Especially as the families of Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott are grieving the shooting deaths of their loved ones. Especially as the communities of Tulsa and Charlotte are dealing with the effects of two more police shootings of unarmed black men.

Our cry of “how long O Lord” becomes easily dulled when the answer seems to be “too long.” More lives are lost. More communities are fractured by violence and mistrust. We cry “Christ have mercy” but silently wonder whether Christ has any mercy left for us.

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be

Most love this song, “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” We love to sing it until we realize the cost. Peace begins with me. Peace is not a gift we receive, it is a gift that we partner with God in ushering into the world. We have skin in this game.

You cannot have peace without justice. They go hand- in- hand. As a person of privilege, this truth confronts my comfort zone at its core. . This morning as I read with a heavy heart the stories of Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott, I am confronted with my own privilege and how hesitant I can be at putting skin in the game when it comes to peace.

Justice goes hand in hand with peace. Justice often causes us to give up some point of personal privilege so that all may know the fullness of life. The peace that was meant to be is peace that might just come with some personal cost or at the very least, some personal discomfort.

Maybe our prayer today should be “Let It Begin with Me.” Can we pray it like we mean it? Not just lip service on this day, but with actual intention.

We need to  put our privilege aside for the ultimate privilege, being a part of ushering in God’s peace in the world. That’s the privilege that counts for something. That’s the privilege that ushers in justice for all.

What will you do today, in the course of your normal day, to usher peace into the world?

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be

 

 

“Why is She Kneeling?”

Sunday had been a long day.  I was excited to settle in for the soccerevening with my two daughters (budding soccer stars) to watch the US Women’s National Team take on the Netherlands. We have roots in both nations and were excited to watch. In addition, their cousin had the honor of walking out with USWNT star Alex Morgan for the national anthem. We saw our her standing with Alex Morgan during the anthem, camera settled on them for a couple of seconds. The camera then panned to the sideline to show Megan Rapinoe. In case you not familiar, she has made headlines by kneeling for the national anthem during both her pro league game and the previous USWNT game in Columbus. The camera parked on Rapinoe kneeling during the national anthem. My eight year old looked at me and asked, “why is she kneeling?”

Could she have asked me any other question? Seriously, any other question. Like, “why is there a giraffe standing in our den?” Instead, she wanted to know what Megan Rapinoe was doing.

Like most things that happen in our nation today, the idea of athletes taking the national anthem as a moment of protest against the inequalities in our country has been a divisive subject. Is it disrespectful to the flag? Does it call more attention to the athlete rather than the issues they care about?  The answer to both of those may very well be yes, but I hope that does not stop us from giving this further thought. Like most protests, there is a underlying issue that needs to be given some careful thought.

“Why is she kneeling?” she asks again. At this point, I’m trying to think of any diversion. “Look, the ice cream truck is outside,” or “now is a good time for a family fire drill, everyone outside.”

I still had Jesus on the brain. Jesus liked a good protest. Remember that time he turned over the tables in the temple. That was a protest. Remember when he healed on the Sabbath. Go ahead, there are multiple occasions from which to choose. That was a protest. Do you recall the time he ruined Pilate’s big day by walking straight into Jerusalem for the Passover festival? You guessed it. A protest. If you look carefully, the Gospels are full of protest narratives.

What would Jesus do today in order to call attention to the inequalities in our nation and world? That’s a pretty intimidating question because how one answers has a direct effect on what they should be doing to call attention to the inequalities in our nation and world.

Finally, the camera moved. My 8 year old moved to a far easier question, “can I have a Popsicle.” Yes, yes absolutely you can.” The camera moved, but that question sticks with me today. No matter how we might feel about what someone does during the national anthem, we shouldn’t dismiss the question. It’s an important one.

“Why is she kneeling?”

Grace and peace