Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of February 2, 2014
- Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of February 2, 2014
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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.
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. God has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour."
Luke 4:18-19 (Jesus is quoting from Isaiah 61:1-2 and 58:6)
"Discipleship is joy."
~ Rev. Dietrich Bonhoeffer ("Cost of Discipleship." Page 41).
If we take the words of Jesus seriously, we quickly realize great courage is required if one chooses to follow his leadership. His teachings comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Jesus' liberation theology and his preaching about the realm of God challenge the status quo and our assumptions. Jesus Christ is for the poor, imprisoned, battered, burdened, and disempowered. Following Jesus demands that we pursue justice for all. As I understand the justice and compassion principles of Jesus, this would include sexual minorities who suffer locally and globally at the hands of homophobic families, religious institutions, and societies.
Fortunately growing numbers of courageous people are making a difference as they work for justice with the principles of nonviolence as taught by Gandhi. Civil rights heroes used them to train brave people who were willing to be involved in lunch counter sit-ins and freedom rides, which eventually led to the end of legal segregation in the United States in the 1960s.
Some of those heroes now have joined the struggle to bring justice to sexual minorities. They are courageous role models for all of us. The Rev. Dr. James Lawson, a distinguished African American United Methodist clergyman who trained the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is one such example. The Rev. Dr. Mel White, a gay Christian activist, once remarked, "Dr. Lawson's decision to support our GLBT struggle for justice is a gift from God." But Dr. Lawson bluntly shared this observation from his 70 years of wisdom with Dr. White, "Your struggle for civil rights is harder than ours. . . . We had our families and our churches on our side. . . You have neither."
But here is the good news. The number of supportive churches is growing. According to the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC), Christian churches in at least twenty-one countries have opened their doors and communion tables to sexual minorities. These churches baptize and bless loving families of choice, recognizing that they are worthy of respect, recognition, and divine blessing from both civil and religious institutions. Many people are surprised when they learn about this growing, global, inclusive voice of Christian faith.
A careful and humble reading of history reveals that the ecumenical Church has not always been correct on controversial issues. The martyred Rev. Dietrich Bonhoeffer recognized this when his beloved Lutheran denomination failed to stand against the gross evil of Hitler. Bonhoeffer lived his convictions as a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. He was eventually imprisoned and executed by the Nazis. He understood that "a Christian is someone who shares the suffering of God in the world" and that bold "discipleship is joy."
As we daringly identify with and share the suffering of others, we can also experience the joy of courageous discipleship. We can make a difference and help the world become a better place. Jesus expects no less.
God, give us the joyful bravery to confront injustice and evil. May our lives make a difference! Amen.
Grace and peace,
Chi Rho Press
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