Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:20-21 (NRSV)
Luke 4:21, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”, reminds us that today, that is, each hour, each minute, and each moment, of the day, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is fulfilled as we urgently address the injustices heaped upon the people of God. It is a reminder that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the nurturing of relationships grounded in love and compassion in the light of grace. And this is how we know we love, that we fulfill the teachings and meditations of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in this we should do with significant doubt yet without waiver. To doubt the veracity of our humanity is to be humble and thus receive a deeper more meaningful comprehension of the mercy imparted by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And in so doing, to apprehend a heart open to the movings and stirrings of a love courageous, sacrificial, and nonviolent where grace abounds.
It important at this point, due to the fragility of discourse and conversation on social justice, to address the Cross of Christ, the crucifixion, the exemplar of love. In this sense, for me, writing as a Christian, it is the ground of being, the beginning of a sincere and authentic engagement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, for me, the Cross begs the question, “What is love without courage and sacrifice?” The force of love as a reality experienced by many such as Mother Teresa, Maya Angelou, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and others bear witness to the fact that a love formed at the foot of the Cross, must be the reality of those seeking justice. There should be no doubt that our cause is to love and to make life livable for all.
One of the many lessons learned from the Civil Rights Movement is the power of nonviolence to love and to transform culture and society. The Civil Rights Movement was a courageous, longsuffering, sacrificial love, an image of the Cross, which, in the long run, made life better for all who would choose to receive and accept that love. Through nonviolence, an expression of love, the Civil Rights Movement sought to communicate the gravity of the matter regarding racial and economic justice, inclusive of the Military Industrial Complex, addressed by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his speech, Beyond Vietnam, given at Riverside Church in New York City, NY, to a nation blinded by institutional and personal sin. Indeed, grace abounded to the Prophet King, and in this, sufficiency was found for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to breakthrough to a stiff-necked people.
Those who would choose to address complex and challenging political, social and cultural issues, do so at their social, political and at times physical peril, yet, with the intimate knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ they do so becoming a testament of hope. They are the prophetic voice of God in the struggle for a moral vision shaped and contoured by their sacred pleasure of communion with God, and out of this communion, they envision the Kindom of God. This is not because of all they do, how gifted or talented, but because of an open heart and an apprehension of the desires of God and obligations to the soul.
“The world needs saints who have genius, just as a plague-stricken town needs doctors. Where there is need there is an obligation. -Simone Weil
The kind of love exhibited in Jesus Christ at his Crucifixion, must be the first and primary principle of a movement called to engage in this present historical moment. It is this love, courageous, sacrificial, and nonviolent which overcomes the moral equivalence so injected in a national discourse by political novices in support of hate groups such as the Klu, Klux Klan, White Nationalist, White Supremacist and Neo-Nazi’s. The need to love is an obligation to the care of the soul and a means to give attention to a society mired in increasing homelessness, hatred and bigotry, poverty, hunger, incarceration, unemployment, and concerns of mental health considered by this writer, a black transgender woman, as productions of economic, political and racial hierarchy, representations of a colonial plantation regime. The regime, which love, as the first principle, must counter, is necessarily supported by a bad theology represented by the, Nashville Statement, which makes sacred inequalities, inequities and discriminations, in direct opposition to the mandate of Galatians 3:28 which, in the light of Christ, deconstructs categories of identity. It seeks to maintain the physical and spiritual bondage of the people of God and make the earth just another means of capital and production thus denying the moral vision of Jesus Christ.
The Nashville statement is an Anti-LGBTQ statement revealing once again a fixation on gender and sexuality which occupies theological stances and discourses among clergy who signed the statement which denies the enlightened and inclusive love of God in Christ Jesus and sets up an idolatry of unenlightenment which makes God’s grace and mercy subservient to the narrow confines established to support the norms of white supremacy and privilege. The Nashville Statement represents religious and political forces against the holy, divine, inclusive, holistic love of God, as described in the Apostle Paul’s Epistle to his Epistle to the Corinthians in chapter 13 (The Love Chapter).
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
To counteract the constructs of narrow theological mindsets and interpretations, i.e. bad theology, those of us who daily seek to live into the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ must be about the work of the father grounded in compassion. We must spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that brown skin Palestinian Jew, to break through depressions which impact multitudes of people the world over. We do this by living a life of authenticity in the face of oppression. We do this by taking on the old demons of injustice, this would seem to be a rational and reasoned action, which so beset the longings of the many. We do this as we meditate at the foot of the Cross long before the resurrection, to attain some understanding or comprehension of the matter as presented by the life and ministry of Jesus Christ the beloved son of God.
Love has come into the world and is walking even now. Can you See!!