• Eirenicole

Justice and Righteousness

Just Enough

Just, Enough

Just, Enough 2050 1920 Nicole

Paul addresses the Corinthian church in 1:1-9 as the “Church of God” and reminds them they are sanctified already – called to be saints! Not only that, they are called to be saints together with all, in every place! Grace to you and peace from God…
Then he reminds them of some truths of what this actually means: the grace of God is given them – they possess God’s grace. And it is by this grace (profound, unimaginable, more than anyone might even consider needing) by this grace, they are enriched in every way: in speech and in knowledge of every kind! Already – because the graces have already been poured out.
And the testimony of Jesus – that others witness those graces among them – reveals an even more remarkable truth: they are not lacking in any. spiritual. gift. They are enough. You are enough. You already contain and are strengthened by the graces of Jesus – will continue to be to the end.
And this calling means you are called into the fellowship of Jesus. Together. With all. In every place.
Martin Luther King, Jr. taught, “For systemic and personal transformation to occur, there must be “an honest confrontation with [the truth] and a willing search for the truth and a willingness to admit the truth when we discover it.”
Consider. Notice. Invite the Spirit of God to expose you to truths – or, at least, an openness to be willing to admit the truths of our prejudices and apathy and fear. To uproot guilt and plant forgiveness with us. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Sprout hope and sow resilience. Listen. Reflect. Be transformed. (ala, Maya Angelou)
Because, we are called to be saints together with all, in every place! And we are enriched in every way: in speech and in knowledge of every kind! And we are not lacking in any. spiritual. gift. All are chosen by God. All are created in God’s image – through Christ, our Redeemer, sustained by the Spirit. All are enough. Just, Enough.

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Just, pleased with me

Just, Pleased With Me

Just, Pleased With Me 2050 1920 Nicole

One of our basest, barest needs is that those whom we respect, whose gaze it matters to be subject of, are pleased with us. Not disappointed in us. Approve of us.
We go to great lengths to maintain some sort of control over the good-grace exchange, most of us caving to lying – to ourselves or to those to whom we give that power. Just to be found worthy of notice.
Am I worthy of your notice? Are you pleased with me? It matters to me.
Why is it, then, that it is so easy to dismiss another person as not worthy of my trust, or attention, even, merely because of his appearance or in which part of town she lives in? When we know how much it matters to us that others are pleased to be in our company, do we withhold?
Our God gives us our very breath, spirit, and calls us in righteousness! already righteous! and instead of declaring that God now owns us, says, “I am giving you to each other.” For what? To be a light, a beacon of God’s goodness, to open the eyes that do not yet recognize God, to release the prisoners…
God is pleased with us, and desires only that when we accept that unfathomable grace, we shine that grace onto everyone else. Everyone.
The God who created a teenaged young woman became a couple of cells that divided and divided again inside her uterus, grew into an itty bitty of a newborn, utterly dependent on this faithful child-woman. Jesus went to hell and back again so that everything was covered by God’s unfathomable Love and Grace. Then remained in Spirit to, again, dwell in each of us, as we dwell in God.
If Jesus has appeared to you – if you’ve experienced the consolations of Christ, the reality of God – you are called, actually it says “commanded” to testify to God’s forgiveness and grace, and to do so to everyone “without partiality.” How that looks – to testify of God’s goodness – will be different for each of us.
This is what we testify to: that God is well pleased with Jesus, the Beloved child – and because we are created by this God through this same, God is well pleased with me! And not because I am a descendent of David a citizen of Israel. Not because I’m a white American and somehow cornered the market on privileged status by accident of birth.
The heart of the matter: when we don’t recognize God’s image in everyone, consider some people less worthy of our attention (whether out of fear or disgust or apathy), we are racist – we categorize that person as a race other than human. Because there is only human.
So I challenge you to become learners. Not just of things you find interesting, or with which you are comfortable. But find authors and artists, listen to music, read histories that are produced by people of color.
I propose a mindfulness spiritual practice: Mindfulness of difference. Don’t ignore discomfort and distractions. First, notice. See it for what it is. Hold it and view it from different perspectives (what feelings am I having? Why such a strong reaction? What makes me fearful of it? Where is Jesus in this? etc.) And then, let it go. Again. See beauty in it. Breathe.
Baptism is a testimony that we have eternal life. That is, we have this fullness of life now. All of us do. So what is preventing us from living like this is true? Are we making God out to be a liar by giving into prejudices instead of living into the testimony that God’s love and life are for all people?
This is why we remember our baptism.
God is just and calls us to righteousness. And God is just pleased with me, and with you. Let us take these branches as a reminder to be learners, to practice mindfulness of difference, and allow the hand of God to lead us where justice and righteousness is ready to be made.

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Members of Peace

Members of Peace

Members of Peace 2560 1920 Nicole

The fullness of God the Creator – of everything! was pleased to have all of God’s own being (fullness) dwell in this itty bitty of a baby whose birth we claim to Celebrate on December 25th.
Still, “without justice and love, peace is an illusion.” #DomHelderCamara
The project of God’s justice – making all things right, reconciling us to God and each other, AND all creation (whether things on earth or things in heaven) – this project of God’s justice is fueled, empowered, made personal, purely by Love: by making peace through Christ’s blood, shed on the cross.
Then, God’s presence will be known, the people will consult God – and pay attention, and an industry of war will no longer be necessary: indiscriminately, across the board, the only commerce will be the facilitation of peace.
Put on the armor of light – walk in the light of Jesus. Live with honor. What does that look like to live honorably? For one, it means living honestly – let your actions live out what you believe. What is it that you believe? We believe in Jesus Christ – the messiah, anointed Present. So if you say that you believe in Jesus Christ, to live honorably is to act on that, to live it.
Awake! remember your baptism and, together, let us center on Jesus who dwells in me and in you – take time allowing the spirit of Jesus (in whom God is pleased to dwell) to speak; confess our frenzy and anxiety at the onset of Advent. Awaken, and remember. Together we are members of peace. Know peace; be an instrument of peace.

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Disciple's Transformation

Disciple’s Transformation

Disciple’s Transformation 2560 1920 Nicole

We are accountable to each other. God created us to be in community and to be unified – one with God and one with each other. Not identical, not doing ministry in the same way, but at one with who God made us to be and live out of that strength, leading and moving with dignity: knowing our worth, knowing the worth of those who lead and move and live beside us, with us.
Transformation in the spiritual life is experiential and perpetual. It is a verb. An occurrence, and ongoing. It is not a one-and-done this side of glory.
“As long as you do not have experience of this dying and becoming, you are only a troubled guest on this dark earth.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Disciple's Attention

Disciple’s Attention

Disciple’s Attention 2560 1920 Nicole

The Japanese concept of ma – the sound of silence – is the silence that can be found between sounds. It is being present to the moment, attentive to the noises and sounds – and finding a sense of well-being, even joy, within it. It is only enjoyed, however, when there is true listening. Only when we pay attention to what we hear can we also detect the substance that is in the in between. Crucially, if I’m not listening and noticing those spaces, hearing into the nuance, the life contained with them, I “may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; . . . [and fail to] turn again and be forgiven.” Mk4:12. I may not turn to you and be reconciled, or truly understand from where you are coming . . . and alienate you.

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Instruments of Reconciliation

Instruments of Reconciliation

Instruments of Reconciliation 2560 1920 Nicole

I wonder if the idea of changing our perspective on a matter – which previously we considered sinful (surely they’re going to hell for this) we might feel something like the sibling to the prodigal son. The sin of the prodigal son was not that he spent all his money. That he drank too much or ate more than he needed. It wasn’t even that he had sex with multiple women. The sin of the prodigal son was that he thought he didn’t need anyone else – or that anyone else counted on him. The prodigal son thought that all he needed was a bunch of money and to find all the ways he could be entertained, feel “good,” to live a full life. What God calls sin has nothing to do with whatever thing a person does, and everything to do with being in right relationship with one another and God, the dutiful son – doing all the “right” things – became indignant. When the dutiful son forgets that it has nothing to do with the things we do, per se, he becomes just as much the “sinner” as his brother. Not until he recognizes why he stays, what actually does belong to him – belonging itself, for one, and all the rights of an heir – then he too is reconciled with the father.

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Reconciling Action

Reconciling Action

Reconciling Action 2560 1920 Nicole

Reconciliation is not just agreeing to disagree. Reconciliation that argues it out and settles the matter of how to move forward together, that is based on a covenant with one another, that is obtained by communing together – this reconciliation is active. We choose to listen into one another’s perspectives without assumptions.

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Reconciling Communion

Reconciling Communion

Reconciling Communion 2560 1920 Nicole

Communion is a sacred, holy space-time because we recognize God’s presence in it – God is known in this act, in our coming together. The sacrament of communion is an enactment, a remembering what Jesus did so we are reconciled to God. And it happens in community, our communing together, enacting, remembering that we are continuously reconciling with one another in our relationships. – and here is where the living water does not flow through the cracks: our community is the cup with which we offer that water to all who have need of it. ALL who have need.

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Reconciling Covenant

Reconciling Covenant 2560 1920 Nicole

When we get caught up in all the details on which we might disagree – even hold strong convictions about – when those details divide us, we are not living into communion and covenant with each other. We do not grow stronger in expressing God’s love for all creation. Anything other than right relationship with God and with each other goes against our very being.

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Defining Reconciliation

Defining Reconciliation 2560 1920 Nicole

We get hung up on the thing that follows (the so-called command, the for instance that is recommended – the details that are for that particular situation in time-space) than on what the scripture is revealing about God – who God is, what is God’s character, act and being: actively, relate-ably reconciling. And we are also defined by our reconciliation, our witness to the world of God’s reconciling action with us and with one another. – they will know we are Christians by our love…

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