Live the Welcome - Reflections 2-24-16

 Texts for Sunday February 28, 2016

 Isaiah 55:1-9
 Psalm 63 1-8
 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
 Luke 13:1-9

 I’m focusing on the first reading this week because it is such a wonderful word of hope. This text is addressed to a people who have been torn from their homes by war and have lived in exile for years. They are going home! God promises restoration. 

There are lots of textual and historical things to be said about this glorious text, but I keep coming back to a conversation I had with a group of people last Wednesday as we considered the opening chapters of Marcus Borg’s book, Speaking Christian.  We were discussing different ways of expressing what God offers to us through grace…right now, not in the sky by-and-by, but this very moment… and “return from exile” was one of those ways. No one knows better than God - who became fully human and felt all that humans feel - what we long for, what we need.  

God knows it is easy to feel alienated, isolated, and separated even as we make our way through this crowded world. We strive after things that “do not satisfy” (v.2). But God also promises restoration to us. God’s ways (which are not our ways) offer transformation from refugee/exile/stranger to beloved child. God’s hand is held out in love:
Incline your ear, and come to me;
listen, so you may live. v.3

One voice in the conversation last week kept asking “But how?” How can we share this glorious message of hope to those who need to hear it (which, truthfully, is each one of us at some point in our life….or probably several points in our life). I really didn’t and still don’t have an answer.  The best I can say is “Find the times when you have felt that way and God has brought you back then listen” or just “Live it” - live the welcome.

The other images that we considered last Wednesday are just as powerful as exile and restoration: Liberation from bondage; rescue from peril; blindness to sight; death to life; infirmity to well-being; sorrow to joy; fear to trust. 

Metaphorically speaking, these all touch upon deep human longings.  Again, truthfully, each one of us has experienced bondage, peril, blindness, death, infirmity, sorrow and fear… As has God. 

Our culture, our world has experienced this. God offers justice in place of injustice and peace in place of violence. We are in this together. 

Check out the G.I.F.T. post for this Sunday, February 28 for more ways to reflect on these texts.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please use the comment section below (all the way down past the related posts).

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