HEBREWS 13:1-8, 15-16 (NRSV)
13 Let mutual love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.[a] 4 Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers.5 Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” 6 So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?”7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
For those of you who are humble enough to stand up and be accountable for your mistakes, asking for forgiveness from those you have harmed, while striving to live a balanced life, sustained by a power greater than your ego, within your Community, let me ask you… Are you as weary as I am, by a vast majority of our United States of America citizens who are blaming anyone and everyone for the state of our great nation, for the senseless killings in our streets by children, drug dealers, and some of the police who have sadly lost their way? Where our children are concerned, when did we, the adults of our great democratic society hand over the power of raising our children, not by ourselves or our Community of Faith, but instead, by allowing violent and denigrating video games, bullies, and endless, zombie inducing hours of unsupervised T.V. watching to be their moral benchmark?
As an Episcopal Clergy, God the Creator, a young Jewish boy called Jesus Christ, and the feminine face of God, the Holy Spirit, serve as my teachers of how to be in this great nation. God makes me believe in miracles because in spite of ourselves, God loves us so deeply that God’s love came to this planet and walked the human walk, which can sometimes be a preview of hell. Jesus, for Christians, is our guide of how we are to live in this world. If we sin, we are taught to admit it- not to blame others, repent and then give our heart to God and ask for the brokenness to be replaced with love.
This passage from Hebrews is a guide to take back our civility, our streets, our children who will someday be our global leaders, and the politicians who believe that judgment and exclusion of diversity and sexes is the answer. Hebrews teaches us to: LET MUTUAL LOVE CONTINUE. We have allowed our country to fall into disrepair and the civil salutations that I grew up with are seldom heard anymore. How did we become so shut off towards the people around us? The loneliness we see in the eyes of strangers before us is born from our self-absorption and self-centeredness boarding on narcissism.
Find your courage, so that mutual love will continue. Cut out whatever cancer you’ve infected your bloodstream with and choose love to infuse your veins, as your chemotherapy of grace. Aren’t you exhausted by blaming, judging and shirking your responsibilities to make your life and the lives around you more peaceful. Stop being the angel of death and become the facilitator of allowing mutual love to continue in every facet of your life.
Teach our children by allowing them to see YOU say, “Good Morning!” to strangers. Thank you. Excuse me, please. Pardon me. And to always stand up on the bus or metro and give your seat to any person older than you. Teach your children and members of your family to not only pray for prisoners, but to imagine what they are going through. Write to those that society has given up on and give them hope that they too can be forgiven and healed. Who are we to judge if a person has the right to live or die? The last time that I checked, the position handling who lives and who dies was taken. God must weep at our sense of superiority.
Vow right now to live as a justice fighter, a racial stabilizer of equality for all races and sexes. Educate yourselves and stop the childish belief that God is a man and believe that God is a CREATOR of LOVE, who not only has a male voice but God also has the little girl of a voice, the ‘bat kal’. Listen and you will hear the voice of God that you need most.
The basic difference between Jesus and you, and me is that Jesus takes the soul more seriously than he takes the tangible, real world. For him, the spiritual world is more real than the outer world of our five senses. It is to this spiritual world that Jesus tries to draw us time and time again; a world that remains suspect to most of us, and whose real value to our lives is questionable. Joan Chittister remarked, “When we begin to own our own errors, when we begin to take responsibility for our mistakes, we will have become adult. Then and only then, will we become spiritually mature.”
Come to Church at St. Mark’s and we will teach you how to love ALL of God’s children, as that is the standard of being an Episcopalian. We are not scoring 100% but we confess our sins, admit our weaknesses and are sustained by the Body and Blood of Christ. It is our only hope.