I am so grateful that a friend suggest I watch Rev. Dan Meyer ‘s sermon recorded on June 7, 2020 for Christ Church in Oak Brook, IL. Dan highlighted many of the various views and facts about racism in the U.S. today.
Seems like I’ve been doing a lot of on-line stuff lately so I began, admittedly rather dutifully, wondering what I might fast forward through to get to the main points. Turns out, I’m glad I had some time to really listen because as he spoke, my eyes were opened anew.
Don’t get me wrong, Dan’s sermon and delivery definitely and admittedly came from a point of privilege and he was clear to even frame it as such. As with most of us who come from privilege, we hope that someway, somehow, revolution in our thinking and acting around racism can come about peacefully. I pray each day for peace, but am also mindful that it took a gruesome murder in MN and a “hanging” nearly 2000 years ago to wake some of us up. I pray we don’t hit the privileged snooze button again.
Dan discussed Black Lives Matter and his own inner processing of all that is going on. I was grateful to hear him struggling out loud, in a most articulate way. When he mentioned Black Lives Matter in an affirmative tone, I was hopeful. He went on to deconstruct the political baggage that has been loaded onto Black Lives Matter. I was grateful.
Further he shared the idea that we are called to look in the mirror, to “remove the log in our own eye so we can see.”
Turns out, some logs are heavy. They are hard to manage let alone remove, on our own. Imagine the size of the logs that come from decades old, perhaps century old trees.
In his closing he referred back to the idea of the Kinsman Redeemer from the book of Ruth in the Bible. It is a beautiful idea to be sure. In essence the Kinsman Redeemer is someone deep into one culture who helps an outsider assimilate into that culture. The Kinsman Redeemer could almost be considered a cultural mentor or coach.
What came to me so clearly as I viewed and listened to Dan’s splinter… is that my log, is my nearly subconscious and definitely immediate move to cast myself into the role of the Kinsman Redeemer.
Thank you for helping me remove that log from my eye. The other inner move that occurred for those of you still with me, is as this log was being removed, I noticed a level of frustration that I was placing on Dan’s splinter. As God opened me more to this new view I struggled for quite a while not to make Dan’s splinter the main problem. Often I find when God is doing a new thing with me (or others), fear will arrive and we quickly try to get away from fear through a number of inner and outer escape strategies. This time, I would not succumb to “running away” to projection by God’s Grace.
So if I’m not the Kinsman Redeemer, who is in our current society?
That became an easy answer for me: “the least of these.” Yes, we’ve all heard “the last shall be first”, but it’s really hard to give up the role of the hero or wanna be hero. Then the beatitudes came rushing in as the Spiritual leadership we so desperately need in this difficult, yet hopeful time. The Kinsman Leadership role belongs to: the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted. That’s a good list that points us toward “on earth as it is in heaven.”
Yes, them, us. It would seem we need to more and more make an effort to see the world, our culture, our country, ourselves and God through their eyes, until we become more like them, more like Christ.
Also in Dan’s closing he provided some guidance in the form of an acronym on how we might proceed. Using the same letters, I ask for guidance as I humbly PLEA for guidance and healing.
Pray for new eyes to see as God sees (very dangerous prayer).
Lose the kinsman redeemer super hero costume and role.
Envelope myself in Christ’s deep humility.
Ask for forgiveness, knowing, confidently that we are beloved.