(Thank you Judy Deckert for sharing this springtime reflection that gives hope.)
On a sunny morning, God comes alive in rainbows released in my living room. Sunlight refracted by crystal crosses dance in colorful display. My heart skips a beat in gratitude for the new day. Early morning, I wonder, 'How will God color in the days canvas?'
Outside it is Springtime. Shades of green dominate with punctuation of dandelion yellow. Purples pause perennially as crocus, iris and at last lilacs appear Peonies pop Riotous colors shout, 'Come out, come out. Come out and play, God is alive!'
On a dreary drippy day there are no crayon colored fireworks. However, it is somber gray, dark clouds, weighing heavy. My spirits start to sink, and I think about God coming alive in gloom and crisis. I remember an age-old promise of another time in history, when the wayward world was flooded, a few were sheltered in place, and reopening was done in stages. Many people died, disregarding the warnings. The few who heeded God's directive were ridiculed. Yet they labored on, counting, and measuring according to God's master plan in saving the world.
After the flood, God established a covenant and sealed it with a sign, a spectrum of color, a rainbow. God made a promise with Noah and sons, as well as all future generations not to flood the earth again. This covenant is universal and inclusive. People of all color, names, places, and times are included. Every living creature, every animal of the earth is included. All of us are precious to God and are a part of this covenant of protection and promise.
During this pandemic of historic proportions, God comes alive in a new covenant set forth in Christ Jesus. No matter what storms batter our small boat, or flood our fragile lives, Jesus is our "Rainbow coming around the bend... He comes to us as we enliven hope in others through calls and notes. He comes alive as we gather online for worship, bible and book study, coffee hour. He colors our lives with mercy and grace and empowers us to be the colors of the rainbow, setting hearts free to be the people of God. Jesus is our sign that God is with us, the Spirit presenting prisms of opportunity to love God and our neighbor as ourselves. Stay safe. Stay well. Stay home.
And when I see you happy. Well, it sets my heart free. "I'd like to be as good a friend to you, as you are to me." (song, Open the Door, Judy Collins)
During these turbulent times with caution and disconnection and inequity front and center in our lives, we may feel helpless at times desiring to be more involved in our world as followers of Jesus. What that looks like for each of us is different as God has blessed us all with different gifts. It could look like random asks of kindness for our neighbors, knitting prayer shawls for families dealing with the grief of suicide, serving meals, buying groceries, financial support for non profits serving the marginalized in our communities, supporting changes to our systems that promote injustice by our words and action (signing letters of support for new laws, joining a march supporting awareness and action for change).
It is a challenge set before us, like the curtain torn at Christ’s crucifixion, injustice and suffering exposed; unhidden. May you continue in prayer and action. This walk of faith may look different now but these times are calling us to see the resurrected Christ and be present in our world as his followers now more than ever.
WELCA (Women of the ELCA) currently has an opportunity available to serve from the comfort of our homes. Below is the link to a sign-on letter that advocates for immigrants and refugees. It calls for changes to policies that are causing harm to fellow human beings. If you would like to serve by signing your name, you can do so by clicking here.
The year was 1968, and I was a stay at home mom raising two toddlers along with my consciousness of what it means to be a mother. There was other consciousness training going on. It was the start of the feminist movement. Coupled with rising racism, social unrest, the Vietnam war and assassinations of noted leaders, it was an infamous year where consciousness might have been raised a few inches and for a while. But, as we struggle in this virulent, violent time, we know humanity has a long way to go in consciously living out the abundant life God calls us to.
Sages of old noted, 'There's nothing new else coined, 'History under the sun. Someone repeats itself.' Half a century later, this appears to be true. Trying to explain the Corona Virus, data gatherers have pointed out other pandemics and plagues every 100 years. Justified wars go on and on with inexplicable cause. Social contracts get adulterated with racist clauses. The haves and have not chasm deepens. Headlines scream of autocratic leadership. Innocent people are slaughtered.
Consciousness is indeed being raised, but to what end? One of the tips utilized in '60s consciousness training groups was active listening, closely connected to dialogue. Self-centered human beings lack this basic skill. It's really a sin, as Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry preached on Pentecost Sunday at the National Cathedral. When individuals are absorbed in their own selves to the extent of dismissing the rest of God's creation, we're in a whole peck of trouble.
We dread what's next. Can it get any worse? Yes. For we know what powers and principalities, politics and persons can perpetrate when empire has its way. We know the lack of consciousness put in words from the cross. 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.' Therein lies our hope. Christ Jesus raised more than consciousness when he went through hell's horrors and showed us the way through such a time as this.
With that hope and assurance, we can ask what is the new thing God surely is bringing about even as the sun tries to hide the shame and savagery humans have wrought. Who do you need to look at with love and welcome as a sibling in Christ? Where is a dialogue waiting to happen to dig out the systemic injustice and forge a new path for Jesus sake? He'll be there. "Where two or three are gathered in his name..." he promised. Lord God, you promised.