Tag Archives: oppression

The Need to Subvert Power

subvert power

Epiphany of the Lord: Matthew 2:1-12

The account of the Magi has morphed over the years in its place within our Christmas celebration. Nativity scenes often include three kingly characters even though none of this is found in the story. This simple account has taken on so much extra that it’s easy to skip over the significant character of Herod. He deceitfully pretends to want to join them in worship as he demands this group of magicians to, “tell me when you have found him”. They ultimately use their power to subvert Herod’s.

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Jesus and Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

minimum sentencing

26th Sunday after Pentecost: John 18:33-37

John 18 describes the arrest of Jesus and the beginning of his trial. This text focuses on the conversation between Pilate and Jesus. Before this Pilate is trying to get off the hook because it’s obvious the charges against Jesus are exaggerated. When he agrees to proceed, it’s clear that this trial will result in an ancient version of mandatory minimum sentencing.

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More than Active Listening, God Was One of Us

listening

19th Sunday after Pentecost: Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12

We live in a time when we are aware of the suffering that people outside of our region or circles experience. This awareness is important because often our ease and comfort is at the expense of someone else whether we know it or not. The discomfort of awareness sometimes makes us talk more. We want to say the right things, but it’s important to listen. It’s only through listening that we can understand, to not be a part of the problem. We might even be able to be a part of the solution. However, no amount of listening will ever convey to us what another people group’s suffering is like to them. Continue reading

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God is on Your Side

thanksgiving

18th Sunday after Pentecost: Psalm 124

This short Psalm is a Psalm of thanksgiving to the Lord, who delivered the people of Israel from certain death. I don’t know if this was originally written about a specific victory. Psalm 124 is one of the Psalms of Ascent, which were sung each year as the Jewish people returned to Jerusalem for Passover. This song reminded each generation to remember God as their deliverer from many instances of oppression. Continue reading

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Defender of the Poor

15th Sunday after Pentecost: Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23

This lectionary selection pulls these three proverb “couplets” that all relate to how we treat the poor. In fact, all of the lectionary readings for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost include the theme of caring for the poor or standing up for the oppressed. This is one of my favorite themes found in the Bible. While following God doesn’t align with any political party, Scripture is clear that God cares about the poor and the oppressed. How we care for the poor in our context may vary, but we should care. We should take the time to consider how to use whatever power we have to help those with less power. Continue reading

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#notallpharisees

Standing with the oppressed

Do you ever wonder if there were scribes and Pharisees hanging around at the fringes who weren’t abusing their power? I wonder how they felt when Jesus said things like,

“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.” (Matthew 23:2-4)

Why is Jesus speaking so categorically? Why is he lumping in the hard-working, caring-for-people Pharisees with those that are abusive and out of control? Continue reading

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