Today our family worshiped at Bethany Lutheran Church in our hometown of Lindsborg instead of our own church because of a time restriction with my husband’s job. We stumbled into something wonderful because they worshiped with The Cry of the Whole Congregation by Walter Wangerin, Jr. This is a reading that goes through the stories of the very end of Jesus’ life and how he was killed.
As a congregation, we participated quite a bit in the telling of the story. We read lines like, “but [the crowd] was urgent, saying, ‘He stirs up the people, teaching throughout Galilee even to this place.’”
Oh, Jesus. He was always “stirring up” people by saying that we should care about the poor and oppressed...
On the back of the bulletin (an impressive 16 pages with two inserts, by the way. Lutherans know how to rock a bulletin!) we were reminded about other important things that happened during this week in history. Timely with Holy Week this year was the murder of Oscar Romero:
Romero was deeply concerned with injustices evident toward the poor and powerless in El Salvador, and worked forthrightly against political repression. He was assassinated while presiding at the Eucharist in a chapel near the cathedral in San Salvador.
I've been to the chapel where Romero was killed and have had the privilege of hearing Salvadorians speak of their Blessed Romero. His life is worthy of much more than a few sentences, but I'll simply say that he cared deeply for the poor in El Salvador. For the majority of his life he lived humbly and spoke clearly about his convictions.
Both Jesus and Romero continuously shared messages that were counter to the government people/religious leaders’ security and affluence. When power structures are threatened, people get anxious.
I understand the anxiousness. I’m a person who likes structure. I’m comfortable with rules to follow. I trust authority. So this is why it felt so yuckie to participate in saying that Jesus was bad and should be put to death this morning in worship. It is entirely possible that I would have defended the religious institution instead of thinking and being open to seeing God being revealed.
And the worst feeling is sensing that I’m doing this today; fitting into systems that are unjust simply because I can’t see around them to God’s way. Or even worse, knowing that a system is bad and still contributing to it. Know what I mean?
Let’s be thoughtful, friends. Let’s buy things that support systems that are good. Let’s vote for people who will try to create a more just country and contribute to a more just world. Let’s have a vision beyond ourselves to what God would want to see and set our eyes upon those goals.
This morning, one of our sons sneezed and I was distracted from the “Prayers of Intercession” for a bit (seriously), but when I locked back in, we were here:
“End human trafficking in every nation. For children taken from their families, for men and women without hope, for governments and nonprofits seeking resolutions, let us pray.”
I’ll pray that prayer and try to live that life. If you've read this much, I feel like you are going at it with me. Thanks be and may it be so until we all have heaven on earth.