Sunday, July 8, 2018

Coming Home - Mark 6

Coming Home
Tony E Dillon Hansen
10 June 2018

A reflection based upon Ezekiel 2:1-5 • Psalm 123 • 2 Corinthians 12:2-10 • Mark 6: 1-13

Will you pray with me? May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our Rock, Our Redeemer.  Amen.

Our text from the Gospel of Mark tells us a familiar story of homecoming. It is a homecoming accompanied with a stubborn rejection of one’s acquired knowledge and skills. 

There are many stories that I could think that are relative to this situation. When I came home from college full of new passions and newfound understanding, I just wanted to share with everyone.  The reception was kind of neeah, “we love ya Tony, but we know ya.”

Those who go on a retreat may come back to a lukewarm reception as well. Soldiers returning from overseas understand this dilemma full well.

You see, while we have been growing and learning on our personal journey, the rest of home have went about life business as usual without so much as an occasional burp.
We may have returned from a good journey full of newfound knowledge and hot passions, but everyone we know also remembers who we were before we left (aka the good, the bad, and the ugly.)

In these experiences of being on journeys, even our friends and family may not realize what has changed in us or why that is important to us. These circumstances invoke the adage, “familiarity breeds discontent” because people, over time, become complacent and inert to change -- even when that change may be literally what the doctor ordered.

We have become accustomed to the way things are rather than worrying about what they should be.  (No one likes to worry so I can understand.) Yet, We have allowed injustice and misery to become normal to us rather than speaking out or even truly living our faith.  We have become accustomed to living something different than living the truth :  we all belong to community and that we are all deserving of grace. Some even cry foul when our brothers and sisters come to their senses and ask for their rightful part of equality and liberty.

This return from our recent ascent  and journey invokes the inertia because we have changed the dynamic of our being, but the familiar routine has not changed.

Question is, why allow inertia to rule us? Why allow inertia to take away God-given rights and happiness from ourselves or our neighbors?

Inertia is resistance to change, and yes, we will find that resistance in those closest to our hearts because small or big change disrupts the routines.

No matter how good our intentions, or how hot our passions, humanity enjoys routines and thus resists change. (I understand this as I enjoy being able to sit and relax once in a while.)  What if the doctor says we have to get up and do exercise, stop drinking, stop smoking, or eat differently, is that when we should invoke inertia? So when the wisdom of Jesus tells us to love for our neighbors, do we just ignore  like we do the doctor?

Sometimes, this “change” could be simply asserting what is already there, like boundaries. Perhaps, we have allowed people to cross our boundaries, push us around or ignore our thoughts. Perhaps, we have allowed society to ignore our fundamental rights and allowed apathy towards oppression of brothers and sisters.

Complacent people get so used to living with oppression and with injustice.

Change may simply be saying “I have had enough.”

We may feel that we are called to action, and yes, many may not share that enthusiasm. Our scriptures tell of the sending of the disciples to remind us there are people willing to share this enthusiasm when we are willing to go out and find them.

There are people out there right now that need help, need hope and yearning for a path.  Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is being threatened all around us.

We need to be awake to the plight of our brothers and sisters whether it is racial injustice, immigrant family separation or gender inequality. We do not have to blindly accept when society wants to take what little we have or to force us into something we are not. 

Maybe it is time for us to say, “I have had enough.”

I have seen this journey because it took decades of worry, hope and work to get to the place we are today. I am watching our world dismantle the love and grace that our country can be into a sweltering pot of anxiety and hostility.

When people get singled out like is happening to immigrants today (for doing nothing more than trying to make good homes), justice suffers and the love of God is being ignored.  What are we teaching our next generations about love and justice? That exclusion is ok and the hate is God’s way?

If we say nothing, and let the injustice rule today, it is only a matter of time before they start knocking on the doors of other Americans and telling them to get into the boxcars and the concentration camps? Will inertia rule that day?

We may do the right thing and have learned valuable truths, but sharing that wisdom to people unwilling to receive it is like throwing the good news in a fire.  Maybe people are suspicious or a bit jealous, but we cannot let them burn the love of God, that is we cannot let them burn what’s good in us, in the fire of hate and discontent.

Yes Maybe it is time for us to say, “I have had enough.”

For those not ready to receive wisdom, this sharing may appear to be trickery and nonsense since the wisdom may not conform to our (valid or invalid) perceptions. When we play the role of truth teller, being a prophetic voice can be difficult.

Injustice is happening and boundaries are being crossed. We cannot ignore the reality.  We cannot let the service and sacrifice of so many of our honorable go in vain. They served and sacrificed for an ideal greater than themselves that is liberty and justice for all. Let that not be in vain. We must be willing to be love and justice.

We must be willing seek out God’s love and justice in our own hearts and minds. Then we will find recipients of that love and justice when we share the story of our journey just as Paul does with Corinth. 

Paul reminds us that wisdom starts with personal trials and lessons, and we should share our passion so long as we lift up our friends and families experiences in them.

God’s love and justice needs a friend in these times. We cannot risk more inertia to the suffering of our brothers and sisters. Say no to harmful injustice to our communities.

We know that we are broken and have failed, but our failure does not have to continue.  We are much more than that. Together, we are blessed to be the goodness of love and justice that unites our community. Together, we believe in the good that we are.  Together, we grow to share love with children and families of white people, immigrants, black people, LGBT people, Native Americans and many more.

Real wisdom, passion and justice are right around the corner for our use. God is ready to light our passion and bring us together.

Thanks Be to God.