Years ago Trevor Hudson, a South African preacher, invited some North American Christians to consider how we build stories, how we choose some elements out of countless events and possibilities as markers to frame the story we will tell ourselves and the world over and over again.
In a world full of faulty, silenced, and damaging stories, we are invited to repair—to make whole the stories by considering the pieces left out, unheard, or unexamined. As the psalmist asks questions of the waters and the hills, we can ask a few questions.
What if we soften our defenses, our sense of already knowing the answers, our fear of doing something wrong, and open our caring curiosity?
What if we open ourselves to a strange language? Perhaps the language is strange because it has unfamiliar sounds or an unfamiliar alphabet. Perhaps the language is strange because the perspective of the story is framed by the ways skin color, culture, gender, or access to food and health affect history and the way events play out. Or perhaps the language is strange because we have little practice listening to the voice, the story of rock, sea, earth, and sky. Our biblical faith ancestors testify to nonhuman creation telling a story of God and responding to or becoming part of the story of human pain and ignorance.
What if we patiently listened for the strange language to become intelligible? We might sense all of creation as “all our relations,”*—part of the body of God. How might this begin the repair of the story, to create a hospitality space that could become a holy refuge or a sanctuary for God?
*Translation of the Lakota phrase “Mitakuye Oyasin”
Renewing Creator, allow our lives to listen to the strange languages around us so that we can become tender repairing sanctuary spaces. Amen.
Again this week, Exodus tells a story about Moses that is retold in the psalm. The angel of the Lord protects the Israelites and allows them to cross the sea on dry ground, but their enemies are swept away. The psalmist recalls this glorious event. The forces of nature tremble and bow before the presence of God, and the people are delivered. Paul recognizes that there are matters of personal preference or conscience that are not hard and fast rules. Some will feel freedom in areas that others do not, and we are not to judge each other for these differences. Jesus tells a parable in Matthew that highlights the danger of hypocrisy. We who have been forgiven so generously by God have no right to judge others for minor offenses.
Read Exodus 14:19-31. When has the path of faith seemed risky? How have you trusted God and others’ wisdom along the way?
Read Psalm 114. How do you listen and act to repair the story of God’s love for the whole world?
Read Romans 14:1-12. When have you recognized something as more important than your being right? How has that recognition shaped your faith?
Read Matthew 18:21-35. How do you recognize your own wounds—or those you have inflicted on others—in this parable? How might this parable help you to repair these wounds or the relationships attached to the wounds?
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