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Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of January 10, 2010

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of January 10, 2010 ********** We apologize for the delay in getting this week s Reflection out. The 2010 Liturgical Calendar
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 13, 2010
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      Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of January 10, 2010

      **********
      We apologize for the delay in getting this week's
      Reflection out.

      The 2010 Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary has been
      published! Please check it out and order yours at
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/product_details/BookRevLiturgicalCa09_10.html

      Also take a look at a lovely new 2010 Garden Wall
      Calendar from Open Door MCC at
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/ODMCC_Calendar.html

      **********

      As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press,
      here is a selection from our book of daily devotions,
      "Living as the Beloved: One Day at a Time," by the
      Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.

      Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
      meditation. We hope you will be blessed.

      Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.

      Justice and the Shower of Stoles

      "I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the
      strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I
      will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the
      strong I will destroy. I will feed them with
      justice."
      Ezekiel 34:16

      Once I had the opportunity to see the Shower of
      Stoles Project, which made a lasting impression
      on me. It is a collection of hundreds of
      liturgical stoles worn by sexual minority
      ordained clergy, elders, deacons, missionaries,
      and other gifted people who have been barred from
      serving their faith communities only because of
      their sexual orientation. The stoles are a
      powerful symbol of the huge loss to the church of
      exceptionally able leadership, representing
      Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, Catholics,
      Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and many other
      denominations from at least three continents.
      Their voices have been silenced in their beloved
      churches and they cry out for justice and
      vindication.

      The Hebrew word "mishpat" is often translated as
      "justice," meaning a biblical attribute associated
      with holiness (Micah 6:8). The word "justice"
      occurs 115 times in the Old Testament. Sometimes
      "mishpat" is translated as judgment. The concepts
      of "fair play" and "legal equality" are always
      associated with "mishpat." According to the Good
      Book, "mishpat" is the moral standard by which God
      measures human conduct. One commentary suggests
      "justice" could be described as "divine pity, love,
      and grace."

      Scripture reveals that God admonishes the ancient
      spiritual shepherds for violating the trust of their
      followers (Ezekiel 34:1-10). They had, as an entire
      nation, become spirituality abusive to the people
      entrusted to their care. Rather than tend their
      flock, they cared first for themselves. The ancient
      text reads, "You have not strengthened the weak or
      healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have
      not brought back the strays or searched for the
      lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. . . .
      They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one
      searched or looked for them" (Ezekiel 34:4-6 NIV).
      The chapter continues with God saying, "I myself
      will search for my sheep and look after them"
      (verse 11). "I will provide for them . . . and
      they will no longer . . . bear the scorn of the
      nations" (verse 29).

      The thirty-fourth chapter of Ezekiel should be a
      warning for all twenty-first century spiritual
      leaders as we shepherd our flocks. Homophobic
      citizens all over the world silence, brutalize,
      and murder sexual minorities simply for being alive.
      Many Christian churches are often silent as they
      refuse to recognize these hate crime victims as
      sheep dearly loved by God, the Tender Shepherd.
      The Church will also face holy judgment for
      rejecting from ministry so many dedicated, devoted,
      gifted, and called Christian leaders.

      To be just requires us to be careful and to pray
      thoughtfully as we read the Bible. Too easily,
      readers pull a scriptural verse or word out of
      context. The lessons learned by students who have
      gone before us can help us be just in our reading
      and in our lives. Karl Barth (1886-1968), a leading
      European theologian wrote, "I take the Bible far too
      seriously to take it literally" (quoted in L'Engle,
      Madeleine and Carole F. Chase. "Glimpses of Grace:
      Daily Thoughts and Reflections," p. 316). Madeleine
      L'Engle, a contemporary spirituality writer, makes
      this important comment, "It is terrifying to realize
      that we can prove almost anything we want to prove
      if we take fragments of the Bible out of context.
      Those who believe in the righteousness of apartheid
      believe that this is scriptural. I turn to the Bible
      in fear and trembling, trying to see it whole, not
      using it for my own purposes, but letting its ongoing
      message of love direct me" (L'Engle, p. 317).

      The Shower of Stoles is a powerful reminder to me to
      cry out for justice. Be encouraged. God is just.
      God sees. God cares. Justice will prevail in God's
      timing.

      God, hurry up with your "mishpat" for all your people!
      Amen.

      (Chi Rho Press has published a small book that contains
      a Bible study on Ezekiel 34. It�s only a dollar plus
      shipping and handling. Look for "Writing to Congress"
      at http://www.chirhopress.com/products/product_details/BookRevWritingToCongress.htm)

      Grace and peace,

      Chi Rho Press

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