i pray that all may be One (john 17:22)
It happened again. Recently. This time it was an officer of the law.
A police officer.
With an audience.
And a microphone.
With speakers and power and something to say.
I knew it was coming. I was uncertain which form it would take.
“We’re coming for you,” he announced.
Directly behind him, a few alleged gang members observed the spectacle from their front porch. Six officers in blue leaned back against parked cars on the street, giving body and blood to the spirit, ever present, ever moving, that separates and distinguishes “us” from “them,” using violence when he must.
Recently this block suffered a death. It was a gun shot.
“This neighborhood is ours,” he continued, “not yours.”
This neighborhood is ours. Not yours.
I knew it was coming. But I was uncertain what form it would take.
i was in prison and you visited me (matthew 25:36)
Sometimes “they” aren’t sitting across the street. Sometimes they are farther removed. In cells. In prison. In jail. In hiding. In the back of an officer’s car.
Sometimes they are left alone. On their blocks. In their neighborhoods. In the “streets.”
Sometimes when sipping chai lattes or craft beers, shooting the sh*t, we like to imagine that they’re sipping malt liquor and shooting each other.
And that’s just how it is.
Of course, this is where they exist the most. In our imagination. As the others or the other. As they. As not-us.
I guess I knew. I didn’t know what form.
our struggle is not against flesh and blood (ephesians 6:12)
That spirit—the spirit made flesh in the officers, spoken through the speakers and burned in the hearts of those who had ears to listen—the spirit that separates and differentiates, at first breath, seems like salvation. Sacred. Salvific. It sanctifies us, it calls us holy, it claims us and names us:
“the good guys,” the chosen, the holy ones of…
Where two or more gather in his name, he comes. Like fire.
hosanna in the highest (matthew 21:9)
Drunk on this spirit, we are able to unleash.
To let loose:
Our fears. Our emotions. Our anger. Eternally returning, manifest.
Set free, we see Them (those other people). We see Them as They really are!
They: Demoniacs! They: Bad Guys!
Hoodlums! Criminals! Good-for-nothin’s!
“We’re coming to get you!”
it is by the prince of demons (matthew 9:34)
Drunk on this spirit, we have found freedom.
Freed. To rage. To hate. To blame. To shame. Them.
It feels good. It feels.
Oh, how now we see!
The promised accursed,
onto whom we may release
even as we are released.
From any, from all guilt.
Participation or bondage.
Speak not of privilege or power. Or race. Or class. Speak not. We have neither shaped nor benefited from the world as it is. No. We have been wronged! We are the afflicted!
They are the abusers! The users.
They did it! They do it!
Come! Say the crowds,
Come, O spirit.
The spirit descends.
The spirit arrives.
It is not the Spirit of God.
it is no longer i that do it, but sin that dwells within me (romans 7:17)
Jesus said to the Twelve, as he sent them on their way:
“As you go, proclaim the good news. ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick. Raise the dead. Cleanse the lepers.
Cast out demons.”
Cast out demons.
When the spirit that divides has united us,
When the spirit within and among us,
the spirit that overcomes us has freed us to hate,
When a spirit has opened our eyes to make distinction:
good-guys, bad guys,
When the spirit that divides has united us in hate,
we are possessed.
Possession calls for exorcism.
when jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit (mark 9:25)
Our officer is not evil. Our gang members are not evil. You and I are not evil. None of our other sisters and brothers are evil. Or good guys. Or bad guys. Often, we are possessed.
We forget “God makes no distinction between them and us.” (Acts 15:9b)
We forget “In [God’s] renewal [of us] there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all! (Colossians 3:11)
No us. No them. All. In all.
those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them (first john 4:16)
And here is the Spirit of God.
God is One.
Creation is One.
Humanity is One.
There is no us. There is no them. There is no you, me, good guys, bad guys. There is no is and is not.
There is/isn’t One.
Those who abide in Love abide in One,
and they/we wait for that One to be One,
as “creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God” (Romans 8:19)
they/we work for All to be One, One in One, All in All,
and One abides in them.
Completion, wholeness, fulfillment, union, in, through, with Love.
be not conformed to this world, and be transformed (romans 12:2)
i have come to bring division (luke 12:51)
To work for One in a world possessed by division and discrimination and hate will polarize.
In a world possessed, resisting division will divide.
Resisting discrimination will bring outbursts of wrath and judgement.
Resisting hate will bring hate to our front door.
Even we resist the exorcism.
It makes us to shake and convulse.
We ask for Grace.
Grace to ask for its expulsion,
to ask for Resurrection,
each morning, each minute, each day.
The world as it is is not the world as it Is.
They are We are One.
We call forth the Spirit of Truth and Love,
who proceeds from the Father and The Son,
who with the Father and the Son is glorified,
Beloved, Lover, and Love.
I know it is coming. I’m uncertain what form it will take.