A Reflection on James 2:1-17, 2nd Reading in the Revised Common Lectionary for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost, Sept. 9, 2018.
We are a people called and gathered and washed.
I have a dear friend, up here in Two Harbors.
Here’s the two-fold gist of this Ash Wednesday/Gearing-Up-For-Lent blog:
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born 112 years ago today on February 4, 1906.
We’ve all asked ourselves, when hearing of some moment of historical courage, “What would I have done?”
This past Sunday, November 19th, I had the pleasure of preaching at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Grand Marais, MN.
Both before and after Charlottesville, I’ve been seeing all sorts of calls to respond to palpable hate with love.
For what may or may not be the umpteenth time, E and I were belting out Hamilton on our way to her confirmation class this morning.
So, Donald Trump will be inaugurated on Friday as our next president.
“Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.”
So, tells Matthew in 2:7-8, said King Herod to the wise men after learning from them that the king of the Jews had been born.
I think it was in the early winter of 1996 when I won a gaudy set of dishes, flatware, and stemware simply by chucking my name in a box at the Watertown SD Target.
The Cedar Coffee Company is reason enough to move to Two Harbors.
“Remembering is a noble and necessary act. The call of memory, the call to memory, reaches us from the very dawn of history. No commandment figures so frequently, so insistently, in the Bible. It is incumbent upon us to remember the good we have received, and the evil we have suffered.” Elie Wiesel, Nobel Lecture, Hope, Despair and Memory
What is, therefore, our task today? Shall I answer: “Faith, hope, and love”? That sounds beautiful. But I would say–courage. No, even that is not challenging enough to be the whole truth. Our task today is recklessness. For what we Christians lack is not psychology or literature…we lack a holy rage–the recklessness which comes from the knowledge of God and humanity. The ability to rage when justice lies prostrate on the streets, and when the lie rages across the face of the earth…a holy anger about the things that are wrong in the world. To rage against the ravaging of God’s earth, and the destruction of God’s world. To rage when little children must die of hunger, when the tables of the rich are sagging with food. To rage at the senseless killing of so many, and against the madness of militaries. To rage at the lie that calls the threat of death and the strategy of destruction peace. To rage against complacency. To restlessly seek that recklessness that will challenge and seek to change human history until it conforms to the norms of the Kingdom of God. And remember the signs of the Christian Church have been the Lion, the Lamb, the Dove, and the Fish…but never the chameleon.
Call committees, when sketching out a profile for their next pastor, are awfully drawn to words like these: kind, available, comforting, pastoral, articulate, flexible, intelligent, dynamic, wise, knowledgable, organized, trust-worthy, confident.
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