Whether you turn to the right or to the left,

your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,

“This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 30:21

What outrages you?

Such important reading this morning in Fleming Rutledge's brilliant book on the Crucifixion of Christ.

In it, she writes:

... in our world, something is terribly wrong and must be put right. If, when we see an injustice, our blood does not boil at some point, we have not yet understood the depths of God. It depends, though, on what outrages us. 

To be outraged on behalf of one's own group alone is to be human, but it is not to participate in Christ.

To be outraged and to take action on behalf of the voiceless and oppressed, however, is to do the work of God.

I fear many, including myself more often than I wish, do not dig deeply enough into classic and orthodox Christian theology, and so our understanding of God and what he did for the world on the cross is truncated, shallow, self-centered and without teeth.

Rutledge is reminding me that the message of the cross is much more than simply "Jesus died for my sins so I can go to heaven." Much, much more.

The cross carries deep, deep messages about the very nature of God. So deep that the human mind can never plumb the depths. Nevertheless, we should try.

If the cross and what happened on it does not shape our lives on behalf of our neighbor, especially our oppressed neighbor, we have seriously misunderstood the cross.

All this feigned outrage on the part of rich, white, Western Christians that is erupting in our country today is bunk.

In light of the cross of Christ, it is just bunk.

No longer forward or behind ...

No longer forward or behind I look in hope or fear;

but, grateful, take the good I find, the best of now and here.

I break my pilgrim staff, I lay aside the toiling oar;

the angel sought so far away I welcome at my door.

For all the jarring notes of life seem blending in a psalm,

and all the angles of its strife slow rounding into calm.

And so the shadows fall apart, and so the west winds play,

and all the windows of my heart I open to the day.

(John Greenleaf Whittier, 1807 – 1892)

Among your duties ...

Down near the bottom of the crossed-out list

of things you have to do today,

between "green thread" and "broccoli," you find

that you have penciled "sunlight."

Resting on the page, the word is beautiful. It touches you

as if you had a friend and sunlight were a present

sent from someplace distant as this morning — to cheer you up,

and to remind you that, among your duties, pleasure is a thing

that also needs accomplishing.

(Tony Hoagland, 1953 – 2018)

Kneel and kiss the ground ...

Today like every other day we wake up empty

and frightened. Don't open the door to the study

and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.