Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of January 10, 2010
- Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of January 10, 2010
We apologize for the delay in getting this week's
The 2010 Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary has been
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Also take a look at a lovely new 2010 Garden Wall
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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
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
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,
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
God, hurry up with your "mishpat" for all your people!
(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"
Grace and peace,
Chi Rho Press
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