Friday, February 12, 2016

"They'll Know We Are Christians" +

Daily(ish) Blogging in Lent 2016 - Day Two

The 1968 Record by Peter Scholtes
They’ll know we are Christians by our love

This song is our Gospel Acclamation at First Trinity this year for Lent, written by a Roman Catholic Priest, Father Peter R. Scholtes in 1968. 

Sure, it’s a little campy, and reminiscent of the idealism of that decade. 

Also, it’s words are touching. For me, what is most touching is that the song simultaneously proclaims “We are one in the Spirt,” and prays, that “our unity may one day be restored.”  

We are “one” but we are not united. There is tension in that statement. It is the tension we, the Church live in. 

I currently have a knot in my back. It’s been bothering me for days. I think the Church can be like a body with knotted muscles. When any in the body suffer, pain is felt, and the body adjusts, however in adjusting it also ends up restricting motion, limping, whatever. To avoid any extra, avoidable pain, sometimes the result is the creation of even more. But it certainly hurts more severely in certain areas, and those areas demand attention. 

I wonder if the rest of the Church hears the demands? 

When I was in my 20’s, I stubbed my toe while out with a friend for margaritas. I didn’t realize my toe was bleeding until I looked down at the sidewalk and saw all the red. It was nasty. Sometimes I think the Church has inebriated itself and doesn’t realize it needs to take care of its “lesser members,” as St. Paul tactlessly calls some of us (1 Corinthians 12:23). 

I wonder if the church has lost some feeling? 

When Jesus prayed to his Father that we, his followers, might be one as they are one together, for the sake of his followers who were listening (John 17:21); when he said you can judge a tree “by its fruits (Luke 6:44);” and when his apostle, Paul, proclaimed that love is larger than any and every other fruit of the Spirt, “faith, hope, and love remain, but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13),” I don’t think the conversation was about Presbyterians and Lutherans having potlucks together. Although those things are fun. 

We in the Trinitarian traditions believe something odd, that God, by God’s very nature is relationship. As we’ve been saying, “God is Love (1 John 4:7).” And the “persons” of God, say our ancient creeds, are “coeternal,” “coequal,” equal in majesty and splendor and all sorts of other ways. 

To be “one” as Jesus prays is not about ecumenism. It’s about equality. 

And we’re not equal. 

All over the country,  churches working with the poor, feeding and clothing, struggle financially while churches less than thirty miles away are creating recreation centers, installing organs worth millions of dollars, and taking international trips to water parks

I wonder how Jesus would pray.  

Around the world, members of the Body, marginalized and dehumanized by caste or color, race or gender, gender identity or sexual orientation, folks stigmatized by documentation status or documented history, folks kept poor by systems demonic in their devaluing of life, are crying out from a place of oppression and suffering. 

Where is the rest of the body? Does it sense the pain? 

If the Body of Christ does not hear the cries, does not feel the pain of “the least of these,” of the members in need of greater honor, then the Body of Christ must be drunk. 

And it’s Lent. Perhaps, Church it is time to sober up? Perhaps it is time to feel. 

“Then they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” 

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