God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Forgiveness, Confession and Repentance

I have been thinking a lot about forgiveness and repentance this week. With the turn the presidential election took last weekend. There is a part of me that wants to cry out "Repent! The Kingdom of God is at hand. Believe the Good News." (Mark 1:15). The anger and hatred being expressed is calling out to us all to repent and confess our sins. I want to hear contrition and sorrow for the hurt caused to women, African Americans, Muslims, the Disabled, the Mexicans.... I feel like we need Nathan to calendar in a appointment and sit down for a chat with our political leaders and those who want to be our leaders.

How many of us who are female can tell a story of a time when ... There is a world in those dots. There is the time I was on the bus, the subway, the train, at church, at family gathering, walking back to campus... All of sudden there is someone plastered up against you with a appendage next to you that you didn't invite because you are not at the rave dancing with him. There is the creepy uncle who kissed you with tongue. There is the motor scooter guy who whacked off outside the girls dorm. ... If you are female you have a story of being catcalled, of being groped, of being kissed, of being assaulted.

And so I want to cry out repent, confess your sins. Only really I don't want to hear your story for entertainment value. I want you to hear her story. I want you to see yourself in her story. I want you to experience the pain, the fright, the indignation, the hurt, the anger, the shame, the sorrow. I want you to hear how everyone of us who is female has experienced unwanted touching and names, words meant to belittle or demean us. I want you to know that this is not ok, it has never been ok, even if you were born before sexual harassment was given a name, you need to repent and confess.

Part of me is wishing that Nathan would show up. You remember Nathan.
and the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2The rich man had very many flocks and herds; 3but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meager fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. 4Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him.” 5Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; 6he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” 7Nathan said to David, “You are the man! 2 Samuel 12:1-7
I want a Nathan to be able to have private audience and tell the story. I want you to feel outrage over the actions that caused such pain and trauma. I want you to hear the story that will allow you to go deeper. I want you to hear about our stories when we speak of those times we never told anyone about. A story that we buried and moved on with. And yet it isn't just one man, or one woman there are so many stories women can share, There is so much pain that I want those who do this to hear those words Nathan spoke. "You are the Man." You are the man. You did this, not just in a conversation, on a bus, as locker room talk. You are the man who has joked around but joking and bragging about getting laid are different than touching a woman when uninvited, saying words that let her know she is less than human. I want you to hear those words that God sent someone to speak to you. You are that man.
7Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul; 8I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more. 9Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, for you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. 11Thus says the Lord: I will raise up trouble against you from within your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this very sun. 12For you did it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.” 2 Samuel 12:7-9
 Nathan is able to speak the truth to power. To tell the story of King David's actions that were wrong. He lusted after a woman and believed because he was king, because he was the most powerful man around he could take any woman he wanted. Then to make this lust more permanent he has her husband killed. So I want you to hear these stories of women. Women Share their Memories of Being Sexually Assaulted.  These stories are just the tip of the iceberg. But does the shear volume of women's memories cause you to repent, to confess, to seek forgiveness. There is so much pain and trauma. There are so many of us who have a story to tell and we don't want you dismiss us and say it was locker room talk. We don't want you to tell us that this isn't ok because I don't want my daughters, my wife to hear this. I want you to turn to those female relatives of yours and ask them for their story. I want you to hear them tell you about the time... I don't want you to excuse this because well there is some man who did something worse. There will always be someone who did something worse. I want you to own this, to hear these story, to feel our outrage. We want you to confess and we want you to repent.

Yet I have heard you speak about forgiveness. I have heard you say that you don't make mistakes, so there isn't a need for forgiveness or repentance.  Donald Trump on Forgiveness
So these words, this time, weren't a mistake, it wasn't just a joke, just banter. Yet for those of us who have experienced these jokes, this banter, we want Nathan to speak with you. We want to see you change.

To repent is not easy. I get that. I know it is hard to look at the uncomfortable truths about ourselves. To repent is to allow to God to work inside you to transform you, to change you. To look deeply into your self and truly experience what you have done not from your perspective but from the perspective of the one who has been hurt. To repent is to turn around so that God can look deep into your soul and see you. See those places where you are separated from the good you have been called to be. When you have repented you can see this sin for what it is, you can hear her story for the first time and experience that this act caused God pain for the love the Holy One has for those named and claimed as beloved, as good.
13David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan said to David, “Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die.

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