The other day our outdoor bird cage
accidentally got left open.
Rosetta (Yaretzi’s bird) almost got away
Coco (Natalia’s) was nowhere in sight
But we could hear him squeaking and squawking
Up in the oak tree, right next to the house
Hard to see this green love bird
in this big oak tree
I got up on the roof of the house next to the tree
Finally spot him
He was all the way up there Almost to the top
He could see me, but he wasn’t ready to come down
I think he liked that I couldn’t get him
It’s like he was mocking me!
Even went up a little higher into the tree
We were worried!
Took all day
But eventually he had to come down
Coco went all over that tree
But was glad to get back home
Shelter in the darkness
Water and food, company
A little rebellious of a bird I have to say!
We are fortunate that he made it back safe
Kinda like those disciples
Staring up where Jesus had left
But they can’t stay looking up there forever
They had to go back to the everyday humdrum
Back to their lives
But things could never be the same again…
They would be in prayer together, in community
Until they were sent out throughout the known world
Sharing their stories,
testifying to what they had experienced with Jesus.
From 1 Peter:
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ's sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you.
Suffering in Christ’s name
Often, we dismiss suffering in Christ’s name,
Unless we come from China, or another place
Where religious freedoms are severely limited
But I think it is true that if I jumped out and said
“I am a follower of Jesus Christ”
People might look at me askance in the street
Often Christians are seen as ignorant, or misguided
this is not the same as what early Christians experienced
Indeed, most of the apostles would according to tradition
End up giving their lives witnessing to the faith
A difficult example of righteousness that we remember
But let the righteous be joyful; let them exult before God; let them be jubilant with joy. 4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds — his name is the Lord— be exultant before him. 5 Father of orphans and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. 6 God gives the desolate a home to live in; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious live in a parched land.
Now, righteousness is seen as morality + charity maybe
Justice is seen as social justice
In English, we have two separate words
But in both Greek and Hebrew (the biblical languages)
There is just one
So, what does that mean, is it one or the other?
Did I give away the answer?
Yes, it is both!!
When we extrapolate a monotheistic God
Leads to a universal savior of the needy,
of the orphan and widow
One who gives the desolate a home to live in
Leads the prisoners to prosperity
Israel was that group of people in the desert
Israel is the slaves,
Israel is the ones who lack food and water
The lost ones, with no home to live in, the mourners
I am going to try a little experiment with you Israel
I am fed up with the injustices over here in this land
So, I am going to promise it to you now
You must come and live here
And you must do so with justice and righteousness
For all the people
As I have cared for you, you must do the same
Yet, is it not a fact of life how quickly any human can turn
Even from being the oppressed to becoming the oppressor?
It is a sickness really that is within all of us
How easily and unexpectedly it seems,
We commit injustice or allow it to happen around us
Something that has plagued humans since forever
But, we have been opened to a different reality that exists
Something that breaks the cycle of evil
Something that leads to reconciliation and redemption
Forgiveness and healing
Not a passive love for others
Nor an overly aggressive one
But an assertive love
7 O God, when you went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, (Selah) 8 the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain at the presence of God, the God of Sinai, at the presence of God, the God of Israel. 9 Rain in abundance, O God, you showered abroad; you restored your heritage when it languished; 10 your flock found a dwelling in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.
God provided for the needy
For the lost people, formerly slaves in Egypt
We are not God, obviously!
Can’t just march through the wilderness
and pour down rain at our presence
But we can do something
If we are all united in a cause
If we are united in a purpose
And most of all of course
With faith in God, it is possible
Possible but not perfect
But, does God need our perfection?
If so, it is going to be a long wait… one day maybe?
“One Day” by Matisyahu
Perhaps right now our participation will suffice
To just be involved somehow
In bringing righteousness and justice to the world
With the way we treat our family and friends
Coworkers and acquaintances
To how we give of our resources
And how we stand in solidarity
with the oppressed of the land.
In what way will you live with righteousness and justice
This day, this week, all summer long?
Life is a mixed bag
Filled with ups and downs
(As Coco learned that day he escaped)
Happiness and sadness
Following after Christ can bring us our greatest joy
And also bring suffering
When we stand up for righteousness AND justice
When we care for other’s immediate needs
And their long-term success throughout life
It can be a glorious thing
Goodness and love and mercy
Righteousness and Justice
These are what make life worth living
Are you wondering what song I am reminded of this week!?
“Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna turn around and forget you”
God is saying:
I got you, I got the world
Let go of all your fear
I love you,
You are mine.