Seventh Sunday of Easter- May 8, 2016- The Rev. Trudi Shaw

Manifesto

I am tired

I am tired of living

I am tired of living in a world like this one:

In this world

the Name of God no longer evokes the Holy

the awesome mystery of the One who gave birth to the Cosmos

and all the wonders of Creation

the Source of Love…the Source of Life.

at best it has become a casual punctuation

to the most inane of comments

O my God!

at worst a blasphemy

on the lips of those who would evoke it

to justify their heinous acts of death:

terrorism… extortion…  subjugation…  destruction

 

This is the world we humans have conceived:

 

In this world

Millions gather

behind the barricades of refugee camps

fleeing the mayhem that has erupted in their homelands

they exist in limbo

the vulnerable among them preyed upon again

by the ever present vultures

seeking an opportunity to profit from their misery

they are willing to face more danger

even death

in the hope of finding a home land and a future;

 

In this world

Children are indoctrinated into the ways of war

playing in the streets that have become a battleground

or isolated from their families

they are fed drugs and hatred

their childish dreams becoming waking nightmare

as they trade the playground

for the killing fields

their toys become the weapons tearing into tender flesh;

 

In this world

A family waits

for the return of a loved one

their hope stretched thin

between the hands of a ticking clock

they get their wish

he comes home to them in a body bag

they have failed to meet the impossible demands of strangers

who have seen no value in this human life

beyond the dollar signs;

 

In this world

A whole generation

stands on a precipice

their past stolen by the mindset of colonialism

that sought to annihilate them

their present a turmoil of broken promises and despair

the future of our nation

lured by the siren song of suicide

for far too many

it has become their only option;

 

In this world

A politician

can ride a tidal wave of adoration

by appealing to the basest of human instincts

he constructs his own version of the truth

he fans the flames of their fear

and anger

and racism

hoping they won’t notice his platform

is built on the folly of ego.

 

In this world

So many of the rest of us

are also deeply wounded

but we don’t want to know it

so we go about our business

trying to block out the truth

that threatens our peace of mind

that eats away at our souls

we circle our wagons to keep the good guys in

and the bad guys out

but it’s a futile gesture…

trying to “get back to the garden”

we go through the motions of living “the good life”

wanting to believe in the fantasy

created by a million hidden messages

that tell us what is real

that tell us what is needed

can be found in the temples of commerce

in the pool of acquisition

if we can only plumb its murky depths

we can try to drown our fear and  alienation

in a frenzy of buying and using and discarding

 

for far too long

we have languished on mats of complacency

beside these turbid waters

while we wait for God to act

to solve all our problems

to heal all our ills

 

Have we really forgotten

that God has already acted

that God is waiting for us

to accept the invitation

“Do you want to be healed?”

 

I am so sick and tired of living in this world.

 

But if you think I am ready to check out

you might be surprised by the answer

because I plan to stay

I plan to make a difference

I plan to make a stand

 

and no sorrow

or pain or catastrophe

can shake my conviction

that God is still at work

in this world

laying claim to everything within Creation

 

that God in Christ

is redeeming and healing and restoring to wholeness

all that we have rendered unholy and unclean

 

I plan to make a stand

and I invite you to stand with me

 

Because I believe

I believe with all my heart

That the world God has created

and is recreating

is here

and now

in the very midst of us

 

like a great work of art painted by the hand of the Master

its beauty and meaning have been covered over by years of neglect

by the dust of sorrow and the filth of sin

that have distorted its figures and hidden its meaning

for far too long

 

but with patience

and love

and working together with its Creator

we can help to bring it again into the fullness of its being

 

and then

we will walk together

with friends and loved ones

and even those that we have deemed unworthy

into that City of God

where there is no need for barriers

because all who practice righteousness will be made welcome

where God’s presence will push beyond the walls of our sanctuaries

and be known to all

where there will be no need for sun or moon or stars

because  the light of Christ

will illuminate every corner and drive all shadow away

and all who enter will reflect the Glory of God

 

where Ezekiel’s life-giving stream will become a mighty river

flowing directly from God

filled with the waters of life

it will sweep through the streets

and out into the desert places

bringing healing and wholeness and fullness of life

 

and once again the Name of God

will invoke in the hearts of all people

the beauty of Holiness

 

I believe that

God has already acted

and God is waiting for us to act

to join in the work of co-creating

now

 

But it won’t be easy

and it won’t happen overnight

 

I remind you that it will take love

and patience

and a willingness to make room for others

 

and it won’t happen within the walls of our churches either

but out there in the world where we are exposed

to the darkness and pain

 

in the places that Chris is already at work

 

God is waiting for us

to become what we eat

Bread for the World

 

God is waiting for us

to embrace what we sing

Healing and New Life

 

God is waiting for us

to live what we pray

Justice and Peace

 

I am standing.

Alleluia!

Texts:  Acts 16:9-15; Psalm 67; Revelation 21:10,22-22:5; John 5:1-9