Greetings, Third Church Friends!
You’ve heard a lot about Lent of Liberation and our efforts to work our way through the study during this Lenten season. I will admit to you that I don’t like the book at all! I don’t think the author would be at all dismayed to read those words. In fact, I dislike it a lot, for any number of reasons. The most important one is because these forty days are forcing me to look at myself and my complicity in an oppressive system.
I tap these words on a morning after another Black man has been shot and killed by RPD officers overnight. I only know the skeletal details of that event as the Main Street investigation continues. My stomach did churn, however, when my pre-dawn attention to WXXI relayed the info to me.
Even though I don’t like the book, I am sticking with my study. The stories and the questions are becoming a bit repetitive…kind of like the repetitive drudgery and beatings and rapings of a slave’s existence. In the face of such evil, I can at least have the commitment to share the oppression if only by way of my eyes, mind, and heart. I wrestle daily with the conviction that I need to change, tempered by my dogged desire to hold onto my privilege. We’re on Day 23 today (3/11), so I have a little more time for reformation.
This Sunday, we land on the day we pay attention to John 3:16. In the story, Jesus relays to the pharisee, Nicodemus, the immensity of God’s love for the world. I think we often narrow God’s focus to love for humanity, maybe even to ourselves. Jesus expands that vision infinitely by including the Cosmos—the grand total of all that is. God loves ME, yes; and God loves everyone and everything else with that same, superior affection God has for me. I am s-p-e-c-i-a-l! And I inhabit a realm loaded with other s-p-e-c-i-a-l stuff. I am challenged and encouraged to love the other animate and inanimate objects that populate this sphere as much as I love myself. I am forcing myself to wade through a study I don’t like this Lent because it will guide me in this most-difficult and rewarding task. Thanks be to God!
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