Friday, November 4, 2016
But only if we choose God’s way.
As the story of Wednesday morning’s horrifying events unfold, I am struck by two contrasting images:
An angry white man brandishing a confederate flag at a high school football game in close proximity to black spectators.
A black woman and a white police officer embracing, tears running down both their faces.
These two images actually have a lot in common: hurt, loss, fear.
That may not be as obvious with the first. However, if we view both images with eyes of compassion we can see it.
We can see a man who in his hurt is trying to hurt others.
We can see a man overcome by a sense of loss, seeking to take away from others.
We can see a man using his fear to make others afraid.
But it doesn’t have to be this way—and we can see that in the second image. We do have a choice.
On this All Saints Sunday, Jesus tells us, “Blessed are you who weep.” The blessings he speaks do not sound like blessings. The woes he tells of are the opposite of what we imagined.
How is this great reversal possible?
How do curses become blessings, and vice versa?
How can these impossibilities actually come to be?
Jesus tells us how: when we claim our citizenship in the Kingdom of God and reflect back the opposite of what the world expects.
Instead of lashing out at our enemies, we love them. And rather than returning curse for curse, abuse for abuse, we bless and we pray. And we give and we give and we give, regardless of how little is left or how much it may cost us.
This is the way that weeping turns in laughter. This is the way the rich and the full and the laughing come to stand alongside all who have not been so fortunate. This is the way we come together, rather than driving one apart from the other.
We do have a choice.