The good news proclamation from this past Sunday was from Mark 4:35-41–the well-known story of Jesus calming the wind and the waves. We proclaimed that as we follow Jesus into boundary-crossing mission, we can count on opposition; storms of chaos that threaten to sink us. But do not be afraid, church! Despite our fear and faithlessness, Jesus stands in our midst as Lord of all creation, taming the forces of chaos and training us in the way of his kingdom.
The whole reason they’re in the boat in the first place is because they’ve responded to Jesus saying “Let us go across to the other side,” to the country of the Gerasenes, Gentile territory, where they’ll encounter a man with an unclean spirit, living in an unclean place, with unclean animals roaming the hillsides. Jesus is leading them into dangerous, scandalous, “inappropriate” boundary-crossing mission.
I sensed that the Lord may be giving us a nudge as a church to “go across to the other side,” to follow Jesus across boundaries into dangerous and “inappropriate” places, continuing to discern how to stand in costly solidarity with our BIPOC brothers and sisters and advocate for racial justice.
I didn’t have time to talk about this in the sermon, but this aligns our core practice of GOING (always moving out of our comfort zone, to be present with the marginalized in solidarity and communion). The other three core practices are Welcoming (making space for others to be), Listening (to one another and the Holy Spirit together), and Gospeling (proclaiming everyday good news to one another).
So far in the life of our church, we’ve been fairly intentional in cultivating the latter three practices, but GOING has been a bit of a conundrum. Part of the reason we’ve found this difficult is that we are realizing that our imagination for mission has been deeply shaped by colonialism and “whiteness,” and it takes awhile to disentangle ourselves from these postures.
But I sense Jesus inviting us to get into the boat and go across to the other side. Here are two ways to respond to this invitation this week:
- If you didn’t participate in our Lenten workshop on Reimagining Life Together Beyond Whiteness, take some time to watch the recording. It’s almost 2 hours, but our friend Michael Gonzalez does a wonderful job laying out how the invention of race has severely damaged the church’s witness, and how to move forward in repentance and repair. (The password for the video is “encounter-embody-extend”.)
- I mentioned reparations in my sermon, and it can feel difficult to know where to even start with an idea like that. But a fellow C4SO church in Nashville is doing something practical in this regard that is quite compelling for me. It’s called the Equal Healing Reparations Initiative, and they’re paying off the student loans of Black therapists in their community. Check out the info and let’s discuss (perhaps in Table Groups this week?) whether we could do something like this as a church.
As always, I am deeply thankful to be able to serve you as a priest. Let’s keep GOING together, following Jesus into boundary-crossing mission!
Grace and peace,