Friday, November 06, 2020

Morning Prayer - November 6, 2020

This morning it was my turn to lead Morning Prayer for our diocesan staff cohort. And on this morning -- one we hope is near the end of the middle of the longest election cycle in the history of voting -- I won the Lectionary Lottery with propers celebrating William Temple.

So we began with this Collect:
O God of light and love, who illumined your Church through the witness of your servant William Temple: Inspire us, we pray, by his teaching and example, that we may rejoice with courage, confidence, and faith in the Word made flesh, and may be led to establish that city which has justice for its foundation and love for its law; through Jesus Christ, the light of the world, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
And read this lesson from Exodus (22:21–27) appointed for the day:
You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. You shall not abuse any widow or orphan. If you do abuse them, when they cry out to me, I will surely heed their cry; my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children orphans.

If you lend money to my people, to the poor among you, you shall not deal with them as a creditor; you shall not exact interest from them. If you take your neighbour’s cloak in pawn, you shall restore it before the sun goes down; for it may be your neighbour’s only clothing to use as cover; in what else shall that person sleep? And if your neighbour cries out to me, I will listen, for I am compassionate.
And then we reflected on what it is to build a city with justice for its foundation and love for its law.

And what it means to be part of a human family where wronging and oppressing resident aliens is as tragically old as our most ancient scriptural texts and where economic exploitation of the poor is not something that just got invented by a particular president or party.

And we pondered what it means to be part of that arc of history that bends toward God's justice -- especially in moments when the forces working to bend it the other way are active, energized and palpable. 

And then we turned to Bishop Steven Charleston for a Word -- and as usual, he came through:

Show me what I can do to help, Spirit,

show me what I can do.

You know me.

You know my strengths and my weaknesses.

You know my heart and my mind.

You know my story.

Come into my life as it is, Spirit,

come in and show me where

I can use my talents to make a difference.

There is so much to be done,

so much healing, so much rebuilding,

so many challenges for so many people.

I don’t want to stand on the sidelines.

I want to do something positive.

I want to do my share.

So show me where I can help,

whether it is deeper into commitments

I have already made,

or working for change in ways I never expected.

You are calling us to a new beginning

after this election.

You are giving us the ability to become

something better than we have been.

Let me be part of that with you, Spirit.

Show me what I can do to help.

Wishing you stength for the journey, hope for the future and safety in the struggle -- this morning and in all the days ahead. La lucha continua.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Cleaning Up the Mess on All Saints Day

Since the calendar gave us an “extra hour” on this All Saints Day morning I’ve been using it to reflect on how much this election cycle/pandemic time has been like unto moving a rock and exposing all the creepy crawlies under it. You can put the rock back — but they are still there and you can’t unsee them. 

And if our metaphorical rock is our American Exceptionalism, then everything we - particularly we White people - hadn’t seen because it was hidden under that myth has — over these last four years in general and last few months in particular — been incontrovertibly exposed. And it’s now up to us to clean it up ... which is - to put it mildly - a daunting task. 

But taking the long view, it is the task the human race has been set to from its most ancient days.
This president did not invent corruption, economic exploitation, the othering of immigrants, or any of the other ways we grieve the heart of God. The prophets railed against all of those. The psalms lamented them. And Jesus turned over tables and got himself killed trying to clean up the mess under the rock by the same evil energy that yesterday tried to run a bus off the highway because it represented those telling the truth about the mess that needs cleaned up in our nation. 

So yes, it sucks. And yes, it’s hard. And scary and anxiety producing and disheartening and exhausting.
Nevertheless on today of all days — on this All Saints Day — take heart in the truth that we are in good company as we come together to do the work we have been given to do - standing on the shoulders of generations who have gone before us as we strive to love God, to love neighbor and to clean up the mess. An inch at a time.

And yes, I’m preaching to the preacher. 

Happy All Saints Day, friends.
Be Safe. Be Kind. Wear Your Mask. And Vote.