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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Second Sunday in Lent: Mother Hen Savior


Day after. All is quiet. In to work on service. A purimspiel about to begin...


Where Heaven Meets Hell

Cara is first to arrive and immediately busy getting the church ready for worship as I go out to get the bulletins....

Today’s gospel is Luke 13: 31-35, a story of pharisees warning Jesus of Pilot’s intentions regarding him and Jesus’ response. 

First...notice...Pharisees here are on Jesus’ side...they shared many things in common..they maintained God was in the LAW, the WORD, no matter where, not just the temple. So they were kind of like Protestants. They get a bad rap in the Bible because they we so close to the Christians and after the fall of the temple, the Christian community’s closest rival. And today’s rabbis, our neighbors, are their direct descendants.

Jesus is still on his way to Jerusalem..pointing towards his Palm Sunday entry and final show down. 

So we see his day planner:
Today and tomorrow: casting out demons
Third day: finish my work
Here we see Jesus vs. the Empire again. The Empire does hurts, releases demons..., behave demonically...

He wants to make clear that once he leaves, he’ll be heading out of Herod’s territory and into Pilate’s, but not because he is afraid...but because he needs to go there...

I’m not sure about that prophet business..not dying outside of Jerusalem...prophets are killed outside of Jerusalem everyday....

But he weeps over Jerusalem. The city that kills the prophets...both the literal Jerusalem and any city...And Jerusalem is still killing prophets...Two of tonight’s Academy Award nominations deal with the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict...
“Gatekeepers” is the stories of IDF Shin Bet (security) operatives and their actions against Palestinians. 
“Five broken cameras” is about a Palestinian journalist’s efforts to record his own experiences. Ironically, he was almost sent back to turkey from the LA airport even with hos Oscar invite. It took the intervention of Michael Moore to get him in. 
In Berlin, I visited with friends who have been working years on Palestinian-Israeli relationships. Even beginning with the awareness if the importance of power analysis and its effects on relationships, they still have all but given up. The day for thinking people to people programs will  change anything is long past.  

The question we need to ask is who are we in this story?
A pharisee? Anxious to intervene, to warn...
Herod? Threatened by Jesus, ready to do him in...
Jesus? Feeling we are under threat? 
Perhaps all three?

So far we’ve got a good social justice sermon going here. But we need to go to a deeper place. We need to end with the image of Jesus as  a mother hen.. sheltering her chicks. And we wonder, what is a hen  against a fox? (It takes me a minute to get past the memory of day glow painted chicks at Easter time at Woolworth’s...yes, live chicks, not peeps...which as I mention it was apparently not a New York experience...) Jesus as a mother hen,sheltering, warming.... Related to but different than the shepherd image. The shepherd is human, tending their own or another’s flock of animals. This mother hen is sheltering her own....her own kind...her own children...

I can’t help but remember the testimonies last week at Teddy’s memorial service. That's what he did, opened his wings and took the chicks in.  That’s what this church is supposed to be about..taking care of one another...there is room for all of us chicks under those wings, even as we spread our own....

After we finish, we meet again to review our plans for our presentation with the Presbytery representatives on Tuesday. Cara continuing to red things up, as we used to say in Pittsburgh.

                           * * * * 

It may be Oscar night, but today is the second in Sanctuary NYC’s winter film series, Where Heaven Meets Hell... a film by Sasha Friedlander about the sulphur miners of Kawah Ijen in East Java, Indonesia. In the crater of an active volcano, miners engage in back breaking lung destroying labor to try and break a cycle of poverty that crosses generations. David Osit, whose Building Babel we saw last month, has produced the film and created its score. It’s a film that shows both the anguish of a difficult life but also the beauty of humanity of the workers in their care for one another and their dignity. Yet another graphic portrayal of what global capitalism does to people. A direct connection back to our own sweatshop workers. In this series, Sanctuary, West-Park and the Center are in complete solidarity. 

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