Empowering

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Scripture: Mark 6

The Lament: video clip of “The Objective” by Wendell Berry

Take It Further: “Bringing One Another into Existence through the Authority of God” by Terre Lucas

What if God wants each of us to be a part of something larger than ourselves? I think he does, but we sometimes miss it. Some of us believe that when God calls us to do his work, he gives us the power or the right to bring order to the situation. It is we who make it happen.

But what if God places us in situations that allow us to see that holding fast to our worldview is a tool for resisting the change in which he wants us to participate? Would we see it? What if we stick with the familiar because we can rely on ourselves to secure what we have identified as the desired outcome? Do we see that we are marginalizing the experience of others when we dismiss their stated needs; because after all, we really do know what is best? Are we so concerned with helping “good” people feel secure that we demonize those who dare to speak their truth without testing the waters every two or three sentences; after all, we dare not make good people uncomfortable. Check in and make sure they are okay with what they are hearing? When we communicate like this, are we accepting the call to be part of something larger than ourselves?

Today we spoke at length about the Warehouse pathway: incarceration and reentry. While the issue is worthy of our attention, there is not an area of social justice that you can engage in that will not positively impact those whose lives have been affected by incarceration. Solidarity is not speaking out or standing up when you are in a particular arena. It is doing so, with authority, wherever you are called. In Mark 6, Jesus spoke with such authority so much so that the leaders questioned his command of the word. By shaking the dust off their feet, the disciples demonstrated their authority to declare those who rejected the word. What if we took authority over our words and our actions in ways that made others take note?

While the attitudinal change regarding incarceration is essential, the hands-on work is not for everyone so don’t fret if it’s not for you. You may not volunteer in the jail, but you might open doors for advocates to discuss housing or affordable living wages. You might help with transportation or arrange for a child to visit her incarcerated parent. You might finance training for staff or the piloting of a project. God has authority over his plan for our lives. Strive to discern what it is for you, then walk it out trusting him.

Kristy spoke of the “I see you” greeting from the movie, Avatar. I’ve long thought that dialogue came from an African tradition. In the book, Ubuntu by Stephen Lundin and Bob Nelson, the authors share a tale of two elders from warring tribes walking towards each other on a hot, dusty Durban morning.

Sawa bona says the first – I see you.

Sikhona, replies the second – I am here.

And with this simple exchange, they bring each other into existence.

Because people are only people through other people.

God has an individual plan for each of us. I don’t know what it is, but I believe it calls us to connect and bring one another, including those who are or have been incarcerated, into existence. Holly gave us a plan. Let God find us, for he will show us his plan for our lives. We are to remain dependent upon him and his authority. Then we are to get lost in his praise for all he has called us to be, together.

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We’d love to hear from you. Please share with us below your thoughts and insight. We would love to see Take it Further be a place where as a community we dialog, and together we all take the conversation further.

*Note: If you wish, you can look up this and other Bible passages online at youversion.com
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