alluring yet elusive

The challenge is to embrace the reality of faith as a pilgrimage rather than a problem to be
solved. What a counter-intuitive, nearly anti-American way of living into our lives. Small wonder the upside-down kingdom of God remains so alluring yet elusive: we know we want the blessings but are rarely ready for the letting go. In Walter Brueggemann's brilliant, Reality - Grief - Hope:  Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks, he quotes the poet and clergy person, Julia Esqivel, from her book, Threatened by Resurrections: Prayers and Poems from an Exiled Guatemalan.  On so many levels it speaks to me of our yearning and fear encompassed by God's love within the anguish.

Each day false prophets
invited the inhabitants
of the Unchaste City
to kneel before the idols
of glutton,
and death:
Idolaters from all nations
were being converted to the American Way of Life.

The walls of the Temples of Mammon
are like polished steel
and in their windows
reality is distorted,
and so are the lights ignited
by the petroleum which its priests
have taken from the people
who now struggle for life and freedom
on the other side of the Rio Grande.

In the most obscure and sordid place,
in the most hostile and harshest, 
in the most corrupt
and nauseating places,
there You do Your work.
That is why Your Son
descended into hell,
in order to transform what IS NOT
and to purify that which IS BECOMING.
That is hope!

It is a lot to ask 21st century Americans to let go of their problem solving for a moment so that God might guide and love us in our vulnerability. My friend and mentor used to say that if this cannot be done in urban ministry, it could NEVER happen among the middle class and affluent. Mostly his assessment has been prophetic - but every now and again there is an exception. 

As we live into the Light of Epiphany, may we nourish the exceptions within and among us and keep inviting all of us addicted to the American Way of Life into God's loving, gentle, tender and quiet alternative.



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