Set us free!

freedom-blogIf there’s anything we should be crystal clear about as children of God, it’s that God is not down with oppression. Period. Billions of people, including myself, claim to know and to worship God. So, why is it so hard for us not to oppress each other?!

This question came rushing to mind as we heard from Imam Adbur’Rauf last week here at St. Tim’s. Toward the conclusion of his talk, he shared that living out his faith in public has become more and more difficult. At one time, he enjoyed praying in the local parks in Albuquerque. Now, it is not unusual for him and other Muslims in our city who choose to pray in public to have things thrown at them. Or, they are on the receiving end of venomous shouts from passersby. Imam Abdur’Rauf finds himself in a struggle to explain his life of faith, one marked by peace and an insistence upon loving God and serving his neighbor.

This Sunday we join the biblical story in the book of Exodus. We plunge into the lives of the oppressed Hebrew people. We mourn the “10th plague,” the devastating act through which Pharaoh finally loosened (for a moment) his genocidal grip. God liberates. God frees. God delivers. Billions of us claim to know this God. Why does freedom from oppression continue to be so hard for us?

I have no easy answers. What I do know is that in order for me to look at my neighbors with unreserved love, a desire for their freedom as children of God, and a hope for all humanity, I need God to intervene decisively. Thanks be to God, that’s what the Lord does…over and over again. It might just happen this Sunday. Are you ready?

God’s Peace,
Pr. Rachael

Ever been the new kid?

new kidIt can be tough to be the new kid. I remember new kids arriving at school in my small town where they remained the “new kid” for at least a few years. There was always a difference, named or implied, between them and the locals. It wasn’t until I grew older that I experienced the new kid phenomenon first-hand. I’ve moved a number of times as an adult, and feeling like the one who is on the fringe of the community is tough to shake.

In our reading from Exodus this Sunday, we are told in no uncertain terms that God is never a newbie in the unfolding story of humanity. The God who comes to liberate God’s people from oppression in Egypt says, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (3:6). God has been actively involved in creation from the beginning. God knows us better than we know ourselves. God’s continuing presence in, with, and through all of creation is an incredible gift! I wonder, what if we could live that gift and reality every day?

By the power of the Spirit we regularly welcome visitors to St. Tim’s. I can only imagine what it’s like to walk through the doors and feel very much on the fringe. But is anyone ever on the fringe when it comes to God? NO! We are all enfolded in the love and grace of God, and in that sense NO ONE is a newbie! What if we recognized the presence of God, a presence that has been at work in each of us from the beginning, in every person? What would our church, what would our city, what would our world look like?

See you Sunday…

God’s Peace,
Pr. Rachael