I have been taking break from reading and writing lately and doing more work in the garden. It has been a needed break. But, I am participating in a retreat on May 8th and the question was asked what does ministry look like to us and to provide a picture of our image. Well this is how I see my ministry:
I realize this may not be what many would see as ministry but it is how I see it, for me. At my age this is what I can do.
We stand at a crossroad. A political, and soul crossroad. I do not know which one we will take but the choices we make will be the most important ones we will ever make. I say this with caution, sadness, and with hope. I am not going to tell you how to vote or what to believe, only you can make those choices. But I am going to ask that you think hard and look deep within before you make your decisions.
There are questions you need to ask yourself that only you can answer.
What kind of world do you want to live in? I am not talking just about your neighborhood, state, or country, I mean the world.
How do you see yourself, or your children, in 50 years? Do you expect your world to be just as it is now? Because if you do you are sadly deluded.
Do you expect your children and your children’s children to have a better life than you have today? Because if you do you are sadly deluded.
If you are white do believe you will continue to be that privileged group where everything just comes to you? Well it does not happen today so why the heck do you believe it will be happening in 50 years? Are you that stupid?
Our world is changing and how we change with it will determine what this world, locally, nationally, and globally will become. Those of you who are afraid of change can fight to stop it, but it will not work, the world will change any way and you will be left behind. You see we have reached a tipping point environmentally, socially, and politically and the world is never going to be the same no matter how much you cry in your beer.
People of color, culturally different people, people with differing beliefs, the differently gendered, and most of all womxn will no longer accept the white, protestant, Western European, and male world view. We believe justice, compassion, and kindness, and political and religious freedoms are greater than hate, divisiveness, and political and religious manipulation, and domination.
The majority of people have begun to see the nonsense taught by political and religious leaders for the last three or four millennia for what it is, that one small group of people can protect us from ourselves is a lie. We who are different, who have different skin colors, different genders, and different beliefs from our white male dominators are striking out on our own. We will stand up for each other, we will protect each other, we will walk hand in hand toward a future that will leave our manipulators and dominators behind. Those of us believe in a faith that honors justice, kindness and compassion will change this world and unless you change your ways it will not go well for you. I am a follower of Jesus, the Carpenter from Nazareth, not everyone is and each culture and belief have their own stories. My stories come from Jesus and Jesus once told a parable of the rich man and a poor man. Do you, who claim to know the bible remember it? Since I doubt it let me refresh your memory.
“There was a rich man who feasted sumptuously every day. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table, but the rich man would give him nothing. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died, buried, and was delivered into Hades, where he was tormented with fire.
The rich man looked up into heaven and saw Lazarus sitting beside Abraham. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, Lazarus in like manner evil things yet you failed to comfort him. Now Lazarus is comforted here, and you are in agony.
The rich man said, ‘Then, Father, I beg you to send Lazarus to my father’s house for I have five brothers let Lazarus warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ He said, ‘I know Father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ Abraham replied to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” (Luke 16:10-31)
Just as the rich man was taught the laws of Abraham, we too have been taught by the words of our own prophet Jesus and you who claim to follow this carpenter have failed to do so. Now those of us who are tired of receiving your scraps from your table are banding together and doing what we have been taught some by Jesus, some by Muhammad, some by Moses, Some by the Buddha, and there are many more. We have been taught to do justice, love kindness, walk with our God, however that may be described. We will feed the hungry, care for the poor, the imprisoned, the elderly, the young, and the stranger amongst us. Everything you have not done. We will see the divine in the eyes of each and everyone one of us no matter their gender, their beliefs, their skin color, or their culture and we will honor them. We will do everything you have not.
However, we will do one thing more. We will forgive you. But while our forgiveness is free it does not relieve you of your responsibility or accountability for the evil you have done in this world. You who have done so much to the poor, hungry, and homeless. You who have ignored the stranger and abused those who were different, female, and young will have to admit your wrongs. We will not let you go free, to travel on blithely without punishment for that too is wrong. So, like the rich man your time of abusive domination is over.