Last night, what she said, kept me awake.
What she said, brought me to my deepest prayers in months.
What she said caused me to shed a tear for the state of my church.
What she said was just in passing, but it haunts me still this morning.
"I never thought I'd be more welcomed in the military than I am in my own church.
It'll be me they target until they find someone else who is 'less than'."
Oh church --
How we have failed her.
How we have failed to be true to who we are!
How we have gotten lost in this world!
Last night, I was reminded that our roots are as the outsider.
I started thinking about the history of my denomination - those who were unwelcome in the church that had raised them because of their beliefs about the Table. Our deepest roots say the outcast is welcome at the Table.
I started thinking about the history of my nation - it is a story of the continual outcast. The native americans were run off their own land; blacks were 3/5 of a person; women couldn't vote; asians were subjected to conditions we would now consider inhumane; women were to stay at home; segregation; interracial families; aids patients; homosexuals. Since white Europeans first landed on this continent, we've been trying to get rid of everyone who isn't "like me."
I started thinking about the history of my gender - it wasn't that long ago that the idea of a woman as senator or deacon or even architect was completely out of the question. Women were teachers, nurses, secretaries, wives/mothers, or spinsters. That was it.
It wasn't that long ago that a divorcee' could never consider serving on a church board or as deacon or pastor.
It wasn't that long ago that I couldn't be ordained.
Our history begs to find the sin of the other.
Last night, I hadn't heard anything I'd never heard before.
But last night, what she said changed my perspective.
Last night, my prayer was, "God, when will this end? How long will we be a people committed to excluding and abusing? How long will the church find someone to exclude?"
And more frighteningly, "Who is next, God?"
Who is next?
Who will be our next target as "other"?
Whose actions will scare us so much that we have to shut our doors and insulate ourselves against them?
And when will we demand that it stop?
Regardless of what the talking heads tell us, this is not a political issue.
This is not about "them."
This is about us.
The body of Christ.
The hands and feet of the Jesus we claim to serve.
The Incarnate God who was himself an outcast to his church.
The very human Holy One who ate with sinners.
Who broke the Sabbath laws.
Who refused to live by the Holiness Codes.
Who shared the Table with his betrayer.
When, my dear church, will we be brave enough to live like Jesus?
Forgive us, God.
Forgive us, my sister.
Forgive us, please.
That there may never again be someone 'less than'.........