Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Refuge: Easter 5A

This Week's Lectionary Texts

Acts 7:55-60

Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16

1 Peter 2: 2-10

John 14:1-14

This Week's Reflection

Refuge is what stands out to me this week in the lectionary texts. Of course, the Psalmist spells that out for us quite clearly.

"In you, LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame;deliver me in your righteousness."

I wonder what images the thought of Refuge conjures up in our minds. Today in Memphis, from where I am writing, refuge is likely to mean a lot to the victims of a flood that is the worst to happen here since 1937. I can't help but wonder why it always seems to be the poorest of the poor who are most effected by such things. Only two miles from my house there is an entire neighborhood practically under water - homes filling with mildew and mold which will not be inhabitable again.

The people who live in those homes have had to seek refuge in shelters - most of which are housed in places of worship throughout the city. I can't imagine what having to do such a thing must feel like. I'm sure they are thankful for a place to go while, at the same time, scared, confused, and perhaps even angry, that they have to.

We often speak of God as our "refuge and strength" and I believe with all my heart that God is indeed that. However, I also believe that this idea of God as refuge does not necessarily mean we feel all warm and fuzzy about it. It is difficult to admit that we need help - at the least - and painful, not to mention frightening, at the most.

Jesus tells the disciples in the John text that he is the way - the way to know God, the way to live life at its best, the way to have eternal life that is glorious. But, the lectionary texts this week also remind us of Stephen and how his following the way meant dying by being stoned to death.

Finding refuge in God is not necessarily a comfy and cozy prospect, but finding refuge in God does mean having the power to stand up for the poorest of the poor. Finding refuge in God does mean having the power to stand together as Christians and performing even greater things than Jesus did. Finding refuge in God may not be the easy way, but it is The Way. It means living a life standing up for justice and truth, following a Christ that was willing to die for those very things.

This Week's Art
In order of appearance in the Reflection

Guiding Light by Mary Beth Maisel

Twenty Nine Rooms and a Square by Ged Merino