Cutting Threads in a World of Gray
The readings today are a mixed bag. At some points the words offer comfort and hope. At others the warn of wailing and grinding of teeth. We are being stretched today, pulled taut between two extremes. It would be so easy to choose one side – the fire and brimstone or the comfort. In doing so, we presume a certainty of our place. If we believe these readings solely offer comfort, we presume a holiness and perfection. If we presume fire and brimstone, we either think we are safe from it or we miss the love behind these readings.
Far too often Christians want to flatten the faith to a simple, one-dimensional view – reduce every thought, action, and decision to a simple binary choice. One option is of God, is good, is holy, is righteous. One option is not of God, is evil, is sinful, is depraved. The reality is few moments are ever comfortably in this binary. We see that in our daily lives at work, home, or among friends. We see it most clearly in society where the ramifications of actions and decisions carry innumerable ripples that affect the lives of others.
Our call is to embrace the complexity. To see where in our lives we are like those in Jesus’ parable who walked with him, but who did not act the Gospel in their lives. To see where in our lives we are among the last and to see Christ among us. It is only when we recognize, embrace, and wrestle with this complexity of the world that we can truthfully, legitimately act within it. A strange word that I came to deeply appreciate from my theology studies is kyriarchy. Kyriarchy is the complex web of the ties that bind society into a web of oppression. Racism, patriarchy, classism, homophobia, among others, and how they are intertwined all affect the world each step of the way. If we do not see these complexities in the world, we do not truly see our brothers and sisters in Christ and all that they experience. If we cannot take time to sit with God to listen to the Spirit’s voice guiding us to see our own place in this oppressive web we cannot truly make straight paths for our feet or recline at the table with Jesus. If we cannot take time to listen to the Spirit in their words and lives we cannot truly make straight paths or recline at the table in God's reign.
We also must place ourselves at the doors in our world – board rooms, homeowner associations, neighborhood watches, school boards, team meetings, recruiting meetings, conversations around the coffee maker. We must recognize that in these moments and countless others like them we have the opportunity to be true disciples and to speak up, take action. We must use what access we have in those moments to cut even the smallest thread of the web of kyriarchy. It is only by our actions that the world will know where we are from. It is only by our actions that Jesus will know where we are from.