Thursday, October 4, 2012

Can you ever intervene in another's life?


Two friends of Glen’s have come to worship today:  a woman, Kory and her son, Jeremiah. After worship they will share their special project, Christmas Child,involving filling shoe boxes with small items like school supplies or flip flops for children all around the world. Simple enough. The session decides to do it. 

Good to see Don back between trips to China. We share a good discussion as to how this is the season of moon cakes in China. 

Today’s passages include Esther 7: 1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22, James 5: 13-20 and Mark 9: 38-50.

It seems strange...out of sync...even read this Esther passage in the midst of the fall Jewish holy days. This passage is for the Jewish festival of Purim, a late winter festival...kind of like Mardi Gras, Carnival..Like every culture needs one of these.....This is the only book in the Bible without mention of GOD by name, but God is there anyways...

In part, this is a story about passing. Esther was passing, her husband the King had no idea she was Jewish.  When the king’s right hand man, Haman, wanted to kill all the Jews because  her brother Mordecai, would not bow down and pay obeisance to him, the king agreed. Mordecai challenged her to   stand up for her be willing to expose herself, as a Jew, with no guarantee what would happen. If you want them, then you have to take me too because that’s what I am. And in the end it’s Haman who dies, not the Jews.  Another angle on this is that it’s being willing to use what you have where you have it...not walking away from the power that you do have. 

The Gospel is a head scratcher....For sure it’s an antidote for taking the Bible literally...otherwise, there’d be a lot of maimed folks around here. Sure its Jesus using hyperbole...cut off your hand, foot, eye, etc...But it’s something more. It’s a continuation of the message about not causing children to stumble......and I believe that it’s ultimately about how  how what we do affects others....Especially hurting children is the worst.

The James passage is like it’s directed to I  could just go through this list, right here:

Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. .... My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
Let me say what I’ve said heal, is not necessarily the same as to cure....This is about community again, about sharing...It also speaks of what I find to be the single most difficult thing in this life, IE, intervening in another’s life..I find it hard because so easily we can be wrong, or misled by our own prejudices....BUT...if someone is truly hurting themselves or someone else, we must speak. It seems to me that the only way we can do that is from a place of humility. From a place of been there. To come from our own place of woundedness to meet the other. That’s a place to begin.

We hear about the Christmas Child project. Decide to give it a go. Glen will take the lead. We also review our meeting with Presbytery and what we’re facing ahead. Planning for Zeljko’s screening, the Open House next Saturday...and Berik’s next opening.

As I’m leaving, a woman approaches. Says that she’s an Iranian Muslim. Has been thinking about Jesus. She asks me for a Bible.  A friend told her she had to go to an Assemblies of God Church. Well, not necessarily, I say. And she has to have a New International Version of the Bible. Well, not necessarily that, either, I say. And  I give her a New Revised Standard Version from our pews. Jesus is bigger than any denomination, I say, or any version of the Bible. 

This week our Iranian friends from two Sundays ago marched across from the UN in protest of Ahmenidjab. But also to celebrate the fact that after three years, the State Department had lifted their terrorist designation. They’re now free to organize, fund raise, protest, just like any other political group. 

No comments:

Post a Comment