Too many people are coming forward with their abuse and being met with this rhetoric from their churches and/or Christian community: Well, did you forgive them?
This idea that God wants us to only focus on “him” (and I really do not like we call God him because this God has not been good news) I do not believe is true. We made God a narcissist with no need to love thy neighbor. I believe God wants us to turn towards each other. But God shows up when people fail us. I am with James Cone, the revelation of God comes from the oppressed community–which includes Mother Earth. The mana in the wilderness requiring the refugees (and they are refugees Moses’ is leading) to only take what they need for today, two days if it is Sabbath, that was not for God’s sake; that was to make sure everyone ate. God is a flaming liberal by too many people’s standard. Our Communion table reveals this too. Everyone eats, and no one takes too much. That is the God I believe in.
Right now, God is flipping our Communion tables over. We are over-indulging the well-fed and letting the vulnerable get scraps–and I am not just talking materially, spiritually too. We are forced to forgive abusers, and this include King David and countless church fathers. Spiritually a lot of this is traumatizing for people, and I do not think we are willing to have this hard conversation. Forgiveness means something more than American, and much of Christianity, forgiveness. It requires a changed life. And we need to hear the heart of victims too.
I loved getting to share a message that has set me on fire, but I get depressed knowing this message will only be received by a few. But interestingly enough “In Remembrance of Her” (title of my sermon), Jesus words, those words point back to our Communion Tables. She made a radical move to pour expensive oil all over Jesus. The crowd told her she could have given that to the poor. Jesus’ response “the poor you will always have with you–you can be generous any time you want to be”–gets abused by people who now think they do not have to care for the poor. I hear his differently through Eliza Hamilton. She lived the rest of her life telling her husband’s story.
Alexander gets this huge monumental tombstone, and hers is a tiny marble slab, but Eliza gave generously to the poor and dedicated her life finishing telling Alexander’s story. He cheated her and left her in debt, even though he started our banking system in America. She had to get help to get out of this debt. Later she was able to open an orphanage that is still open today. You know why she did that? Because Alexander had been an orphan. She loved him and his story mattered to her. Also, the prosperity in New York was growing which was also widening the gap between rich and poor producing a lot of orphans. She answered that problem. The New York Times wrote a really nice thing about her love for the distressed.
Is this the only thing women are allowed to do to be honored? I see this unnamed woman in Mark as someone finally saying no. You can do it too. I want to preach right now. Men can create businesses, banks, and preach from the pulpit (women can do missionary work)–Women are expected to fill in the gaps where this falls short for the poor. I can hear Jesus saying: How about you go and be generous. This is her time to radically enjoy the divine in a way that will not make sense to the world.