Saturday, June 25, 2016

Can we still dance? (after Orlando)


Pat and Leila gave us beauty again...

We began our service singing Desmond Tutus's Goodness is stronger than evil...
Goodness is stronger than evil;                                                                                                              love is stronger than hate;light is stronger than darkness;life is stronger than death.Victory is ours, victory is ours through him who loved us. Victory is ours, victory is ours through him who loved us.
In our first lesson, Elijah listens for the voice of God. It’s not in storm or thunder or…it’s finally in what the King James Version called a “still, small, voice”..or more accurately “silence in silence” or..”the Sound of Silence” So I just have to share what’s been all over the Internet, this remix of Paul Simon’s song, by heavy metal band Disturbed.  Let’s listen:

Why this song? Why now? What’s changed in 50 years?
(Russ points out the difference between the original plea for an apathetic world, not listening, to what becomes an impassioned plea, HEY, YOU MOTHER_____STILL DON”T GET IT…)
Last week. When I came to church , I wasn’t fully aware of what had happened in Orlando. If I had been, I would have spent the morning on Orlando alone.
As I came into church, Pastor Yvonne M. Harrison of the lbgtq Pentecostal Restoration Temple church was talking about her leaving the Pentecostal church. How she was “Disfellowshipped” People instructed not to talk with her. Not to even pray for her. There was one pastor who did….and he was her guest. I reflected on that pain…
In my neighborhood clergy Bible study on Wednesday morning, the young Vicar from Trinity Lutheran was nearly in tears. About our failure, refusal  to speak the truth. To be honest. Orlando was not about “terrorism”…It was an act of a disturbed, more than likely closeted gay man, with religion inspired hatred of himself, rejected by his own father…taking that out on others..with an easily acquired automatic weapon. He was going got accompany his sermon with 'Lord of the Dance." (words I have rewritten..) And an in answer to my question, Can we still dance, he says we resistance..
And so we sang tho morning, more slolwy, reflectively:
I danced in the morning when the world was young 
I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun 
I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth 
At Bethlehem I had my birth 

Dance, dance, wherever you may be 
I am the lord of the dance, said he 
And I lead you all, wherever you may be 
And I lead you all in the dance, said he 

I danced on a Sunday  when the sun went away
It's hard to dance when you cqnnot see the day
They thought that hatred could silence our song
But we are the dance and we still go on..

We danced for those who love and we danced for those who hate
We dance for the angels who wait at heaven’s gate
We dance for the weak and we dance with the strong
The dance is love and it still goes on…

I was talking to our friend, Stephanie now Ryan, Johnstone about her upcoming concert with her choir of young lgbtq (queer) folks. And how we no what a completely new way of understanding that Galatians passage about Completeley neither “male nor female” in Christ Jesus. Those distinctions, categories, have no meaning..
The Luke passage, about the Gerasene demoniac is on of my favorites. I thought of the man on the steps, half naked, dirty shouting and cursing. And the two sisters who come daily with all their belongings. And how our  Dion has such an easy loving touch with those on our steps.
Our old member Philip once told me how every Sunday, his pastor would thank God for waking up ”clothed and in his right mind.” I guess if you start there, the rest of the day is easy.
I remembered how Dostoevsky used this passage as an aPentecostal ascription to his book “The Possessed,”…how he saw his Russia as a society driven mad, possessed and going over the edge…
How Jesus deliberately referenced the Roman Empire by naming the demon Legion…the Empire does drive us mad..and to come to one’s senses is to become dangerous,a perceived threat…to be driven out…he ants to follow Jesus, but Jesus sends him back, to be a witness to sanity restored, to a new way of life.
A way of life where
28There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 
Let us come to our senses…help each other to break free…and claim the life we were promised..

 Second Reading Galatians 3:23-29
23Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. 24Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise.
Gospel Luke 8:26-39
26Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. 28When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me"-29for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) 30Jesus then asked him, "What is your name?" He said, "Legion"; for many demons had entered him. 31They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.
32Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission.33Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
34When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. 35Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 36Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. 37Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. 38The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39"Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you." So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.

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