Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Walk This Way

The chart below is the 40-day reading schedule I plan to use the next time moral outrage starts to get the better of me.

It's based on the reading schedule I followed during my lenten reflection on Whiteclay.  The readings start with Jesus setting his face towards Jerusalem and end with the Cross.  The exercise helped me cope with the frustration and anger I felt over the injustice happening in Whiteclay and move into a healthier frame of mind.

I walked the road to the Cross with Jesus, and he walked the streets of Whiteclay and the Pine Ridge Reservation with me,  I trust that he will walk with me the next time I'm confronted with an ugly social truth and try to respond by sticking with it and not look away or get distracted from it.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Light to Darkness to Light Again

“Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth,
but the glory of the LORD rises and appears over you.”
--Isaiah 60:2

The reference to darkness in the Crucifixion scene intrigues me because it seems to be an allusion harkening back to the Genesis Creation.  The same phrasing appears in Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33, and Luke 23:44 just before Jesus dies* --

“darkness (σκότος) there was (ἐγένετο) on the whole earth (γῆν)”.

The same three Greek words noted in this Crucifixion verse are also found in Genesis 1: 2 and 3  --

“But the earth (γη) was unseen and unready and darkness (σκότος) upon the abyss and God’s spirit bore down upon the water” (1:2)

“There was (εγένετο) light” (1:3)

The Genesis verses bring to mind the image of the earth in a lightless and watery womb, waiting to be born when suddenly God’s contractions begin.  God speaks the word and light is born.  Once the waters are parted, the earth will fully emerge.

As Jesus hangs upon the Cross dying, this process begins to be reversed.  The earth moves back into the darkness.  It is as if the creation is undone when Jesus is crucified.  

The Crucifixion marks the end of the world made in Genesis.  I imagine a reset button being pushed.  God calls a do-over so that the earth may be born anew.  After a three-day gestation period, the Resurrection occurs and the New Creation is born of the Spirit.

Faith that the Spirit is still causing the New Creation to mature from infancy to adulthood is the source of my hope for the social order.  I want to align my efforts with the divine creative process that is moving the Earth from darkness to light.  

My difficulty identifying what the Spirit is up to is the obstacle that impedes my sincere efforts and stymies my good intentions.  I confess my ignorance, attempt to temper my advocacy with meekness and humility, and keep trying to be faithful.

*  The darkness appears in the Gospel of John as well, but it is not an exact parallel:  
John 20:1 -- “it still being dark (σκοτίας), Mary Magdalene went to the tomb”

Monday, April 4, 2016

Hoping for the best in Whiteclay

On March 29, State Senator Pansing Brooks introduced a bill to the Nebraska Legislature calling for an interim study of the situation in Whiteclay.  On April 1, the responsibility to carry out the study was assigned to the General Affairs committee of the Legislature.

The purpose of the resolution is "to examine and review the sale of alcohol in Whiteclay and the secondary effects of such sales. The study committee shall develop recommendations for what should be done to address the issues arising from such sales and shall seek the input of the State-Tribal Relations Committee."  A link to the full text of the resolution is here.

Thank you to everyone who held Whiteclay in your prayers during Lent.  I am so grateful that the Nebraska Legislature is taking this step.  I pray that God will cause more people to care, and will inspire us with insight into a wise way to address and solve the problems there.

The members of the 2016 General Affairs committee are:
Tyson Larson (Chair)  tlarson@leg.ne.gov
Colby Coash (Vice Chair) ccoash@leg.ne.gov
Matt Hansen, mhansen@leg.ne.gov
Dan Hughes, dhughes@leg.ne.gov
Mark Kolterman, mkolterman@leg.ne.gov
John McCollister,  jmccollister@leg.ne.gov
Merv Riepe,  mriepe@leg.ne.gov
Ken Schilz, kschilz@leg.ne.gov

If you would take a moment to pray for the committee, I would appreciate it.  And if you'd like to take an additional step and email the committee members and let them know that you prayed for them, I'm sure they would appreciate it, too.