Saturday, December 18, 2010

Are We Breaking Anyone's Chains? Is Oppression Ceasing Because of Us?

Continuing in the "Unsettling Advent" series

"He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty." Luke 1:53

How does that happen?

Has it happened?

Is it yet to occur?

How are we to receive, understand, interpret and apply this and the other radical liberation statements in Mary's song?

I reject the notion that this is merely literary flourish, that it is not to be taken literally.  Too much of Old Testament prophecy and the words and actions of Jesus echo it (or it echoes them).

And, while I'm at it, how do we get from who Jesus is and what he did to what Jesus makes possible for us and calls us to be and do?

"Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother," we sing, "and in his name all oppression shall oppression shall cease."  Amen.  But, tell me, if he has done this, or made this possible or started the process, what part do you and I have in it?  Is it just hope-so someday?  Is it eventually?  Is it "stand back and wait for God to do something?"  Obviously not.  But the vast majority of the church has played this game for two millenia.  It is interested more in church empire than kingdom come.

If chains shall be broken, we shall have a hand in breaking them.  If oppression shall cease, it begins with us to stop oppressing and pretending like we aren't implicated in oppression on a global scale.  If the hungry are to be filled with good things, it will be through those who follow Jesus, take him seriously, who lay aside their over-the-top wealth, and fill the hungry with good things.

Enough games-playing.  Enough excusing.  Enough hand-wringing.  Enough hope-so.  Enough obfuscation.  It's way past time to do what Jesus did and instructed his followers to do.  Do that; that's all that's required.

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