May 29, 2013
"…waiting to catch him in something he might say." - Luke 11:54
Bradley Manning has spent 1043 days in jail, at this writing. Google to get the new count. Of the 166 people left at Guantanamo, 130, at this writing, are now on hunger strike. Look their story up. 11 million immigrants are in this country, most having been here for decades. Their status is not clarified in the proposed immigration bill. If you look this story up, you will go gaga after Googling.
Jesus had each of these experiences. He was jailed, silenced, crucified, ignored, undocumented. I know you don't know any of the people I mentioned for you to Google. And I know that I don't know most of these people. And because I don't know them, I don't know Jesus either.
How long is the bridge between an American and his or her country's behavior? Is it as short as an IRS contribution? Or as short as Google? Can you care on Google? Can caring come when we say to each other "Google it." Or is there just too much information about too much suffering, such that we can only choose to care today for one of the hunger strikers, one of the immigrants, one of Manning's days? Does that kind of caring matter? Do you feel that I am trying to catch you in something you might say, like the authorities did to Jesus? Maybe caring is too much like raking leaves on a windy day.
If so, let me propose identification with you. The way people tried to shame Jesus is the way we try to shame each other because of how long the bridge is. There is no need for shame. Jesus wouldn't do that and didn't do that. Instead he experienced silencing, jailing, crucifixion, being ignored, being without papers. We can experience the same ourselves and note how rotten it feels. Then we can go out and notice the people who are using our authority unjustly. NOTICING shortens the bridge.
When the forces for good seem weak and overwhelmed, or all blowing away, awaken one in us. Just one. But wake it up. Amen.
About the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Check out her blog, Grace at Table
, at donnaschaper.com
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