Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Isaiah: Prophet, Poet, Pastor for the Present Moment
So, last time we heard Isaiah invite us to turn and tune our ears toward God's love song. I invited you to consider ways you might listen and be lured by such a melody. It is important to circle back around to the truth that we cannot ever silence that which will sour our soul. We cannot turn our backs and plug our ears from the harsh, hard realities around us.
We know that even as I sense God's love song in laughter with my family or walking with my wife or being at a PRIDE fest...there is too much hate and violence in our world. There are too many people calling us to take up arms against those people. The vast majority of the 5000 ads I see right now every day are political commercials tell me that if the other person wins it will be the worst thing ever because clearly we can see that the other person might be the most selfish/self-centered ever created. No one comes on a political ad and says, "I disagree with the policy my opponent proposes but s/he is still a beloved child of God." Or at least no ad I've seen.
Here is the problem and it all goes back to grapes.
I have never seen one single grape grow on its own. Rather grapes all grow in bunches. Some of the grapes grow bigger, some small. Some are a deep purple or red or green...others lighter depending on where it grows in the bunch. Moreover that one bunch of grapes trying to thrive is not the only bunch on the vine. In a good, healthy vineyard there are thousands of bunches.
Or as it was once said, "The term individual Christian (person of faith) is an oxymoron." You will never be the you, you were meant to be without a "we". In many ways, we don't get to always select the "we". My children didn't ask to be brought into this world. We don't vote every year to continue to be a family. So, we try to grow together. And to be sure, sometimes a family member or friends hurts and harms us, makes us feel cut off from the vine or shadows us from the warmth of the sun or makes us feel the way we want to grow would be misshaped or a mistake.
How do you balance the both/and part of growing?
And suddenly I wish I was a grape...because it seems to come much more naturally and this is where the metaphor might break down.
Yet, perhaps it is by thinking about the truth that I will never be the I, I was meant to be without a "we" that is inclusive...especially of people I wish would rather go grow on a vine far, far away. I will never be the I, I was meant to be without a "we" who challenges me. Growth rarely happens in a sterile safe environment. Growth for our bunch of grapes happens in the harshness of wind and rain and sun...drought and being drenched...and the most beautiful day you could ever imagine. Are you with me?
Until as people we understand the biggest, boldest, most embracing two letters of "we"...we will continue to struggle to see our interconnected-ness and interdependence. But when we do dare to leap into a "we" that might even include our friend who votes another way or worships in a different church or belongs to that organization...we will always be missing an essential part of the bunch. I pray for you and me in these days that we might find more than a trace of God's grace to be a "we" our families, communities, country, and world needs in such a time as this.