Dear Gulf Coast Leaders,
Isaiah describes the fulfillment of the kingdom of God as the end of violence.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent-its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord.
In 2 Thessalonians we are told in the mean time not to be found loitering but rather to be working diligently for the kingdom.
In Luke 21 Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple. For Jesus The kingdom isn’t just a place you go when you die; it’s a new reality that comes to us, or so he taught us to pray in his prayer.
Jesus taught his followers to live in this world as if the kingdom had already come, as a witness to the world. The outcome is predictable. If you live a peaceful lifestyle in a violent world you’re going to get crucified. Offer unconditional love in a hate-filled world and you will be loathed. Rejoice, Jesus says, for so they treated the prophets.
Jesus promised before the kingdom comes, things will get worse: war, earthquakes, famine and plagues. You will be persecuted, arrested and thrown in jail.
I’m still amazed at the civil rights movement. When Americans watched on national television white police officers brutally beating unarmed black pacifist marchers, in that very moment there was a tipping point, and the movement had won. Martin Luther King spoke of having the strength to love.
Someone once said to me, “Jesus said his followers would be hauled into court. If you’ve not been, you’re going to have some explaining to do when you get to heaven.”
I once got to hear Desmond Tutu speak during apartheid, not long after he had won the Nobel Peace Prize. In the Q&A you could tell people felt bad about living well while he was going through so much. They asked how they could help.
His response was thoughtful. Something like this: If you are not being persecuted here in your country for standing up against injustice, you should ask yourself, why? There is plenty of injustice here as well.
Ouch. It’s so much easier to fight injustice in far away places.
So, how shall we live in the in between times? Not idle, but as witnesses of the peaceable kingdom, knowing that it will likely cost us oulves. That’s all.
Preach that. It may not fill up arenas, but it will sound a lot more like what we read in the gospels. Peace
Michael Rinehart, Bishop
OF NOTE: See below at BishopMike.com
Lutherhill Family Camp Photos
Dr. Craig Satterlee on All Saints in NOLA
Confirmation at Alvin Lutheran
November 4 – Amazing Faiths Dialog. Sign up now.
November 7 – Rite of Reception and Affirmation of Ordination, Lura Groen. Grace, Houston.
January 24-26 – TriSynodical Theological Conference. Marcus Borg. Galveston. Register NOW. Books to read in preparation:
1. The Heart of Christianity.
2. Toward a Hopeful Future.
March 9 – Ash Wednesday
April 24 – Easter
May 20-22 – Synod Assembly in Galveston, Texas.
Family Camp at Lutherhill this weekend…
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