So here we are, a week into Lent.
How’s that working for you?
What did you give up?
Are you sticking to it?
Reminder: we do get a pass on Sundays. Those are “little Easters” so we get a pass and can have some chocolate, or diet soda, or whatever we’re fasting from. And, the Sabbath day that we take can float around because maybe Sunday isn’t a good day for our fasting plan. Maybe it’s Wednesday. Whatever you do, try not to fall into the trap of moving it around too much. The moving target is an easy way to end up blowing it off.
I also encourage you to pick up a Spiritual discipline in place of whatever you’re giving up in fasting. Like if you only pray once a day, pick up another time. Use your lunch hour to take 5 minutes of solitude and spend it with God. Even in silent prayers, any time with God is good time, right?
Last Wednesday, we were still in the Holy Land and obviously, it was ultra-cool to be there on Ash Wednesday! We celebrated with the International Mission pastors from the United Methodist Church at the W’iam Center in Bethlehem. W’iam is focused on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict as are several the places we visited.
It’s more than interesting. It’s downright moving that the intersection of Islam/Judaism/Christianity and that whole conversation falls in the middle of the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict. The political lines are so blurry. But clearly there needs to be hope for the conflict to ever have a prayer of resolution. And it will not come without a lot of give from every side of the equation. Some take will be involved, without a doubt. But I think every side must give in tangible, spiritual, and political ways for hope to emerge.
Right now, there’s not a lot of hope. I heard it said more than once: “I wish I could see hope.” Hope for the conversation. Hope for the children. Hope for lasting peace and harmony. There is no clear pathway to generate hope right now and I also firmly believe that the right people aren’t at the table and maybe haven’t ever been at the table.
One of the quotes from retired Archbishop Elias Chacour of the Malekite Catholic Church that I shared last Wednesday was:
"Is your Christianity like a chameleon? Or are you ready to raise hell for Christ?
Raise hell when hell needs to be raised.”
This chameleon thing really rings my bell.
I wonder if we, that is you and I, focus too much on “blending.” Being a part of the fabric of the community. Being a part of the conversation, but gently. We talk like lions but we act like lambs.
Starting right here in Madison, we have an incredible opportunity ahead of us to further the #BelovedCommunity. It’s a good idea, but we cannot talk like lions and act like lambs. We cannot “blend.” For our next steps to be effective, we must raise hell.
This new executive order is no less harmful to the immigrant community that surrounds us, that clearly IS a part of our fabric here in Madison. It’s less offensive when laid next to the poor roll-out of the last one, but it’s no less harmful. There are so many news-grabbing distractions that we cannot afford to gloss over it.
We cannot be chameleons.
This “Welcoming Community,” #BelovedCommunity conversation must take Madison to the “Sanctuary City” level to have the proper teeth and protection that our immigrant community demands. Again, we cannot talk like lions and act like lambs.
There is hope.
The time to raise hell is now.
Grace and peace,