I am often astounded what fear does to otherwise faithful people. Yesterday, riding the train into New York for a meeting, I was reminded how tightly we humans defend ourselves in crowds -the burying a nose in a paper, listening to an Ipod, turning eyes away from everyone, pushing past, not acknowledging anyone -all the results of self protection and safety. Basically we are afraid. When we are afraid as an individual, we do all we can to seem powerful and impenetrable. So too, institutions like the church, when feeling threatened, do all possible to appear strong and impermeable. The problem with that is that the church is an institution which has been instructed to give itself away. Christ has called us to pour out for others, not protect ourselves against others. The church has drawn a yellow line for safety, out of fear and self-protection, and asks us all to stand behind it.
"But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us...For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh." 2 Cor 4:7,11
I feel called to live on the edge of the line, pushing the church to act the inclusion they proclaim. I feel called this day, to protect the children, and the new believers and not the institution which has no value without the love and welcome of Christ Jesus. I feel the call to challenge my brothers and sisters to stand back from the line of fear and invite them to dance on the edge of grace. May we have the courage today to not be governed by fear, knowing that in Christ Jesus we are filled with God's power, and that we are visible broken reminders of God's love flowing through an imperfect world. May we be brave and authentic today, wholly welcomed by the God who created us, wholly redeemed by the savior who offered his life as ransom for us all.