Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Awake O Sleeper.

Alabare, alabare, alabare a mi Señor.
Alabare, alabare, alabare a mi Señor.

The LORD waits to be gracious to you,
Therefore He will rise up to show mercy to you.

For it is God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus.”

Jesus said, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in th e Son. If any of you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

Throughout the year we have spoken about the value of honesty, whether we are researching an argument paper, when a teacher tells us to spit out our gum, when we are posting another comment on Facebook, when we make a mistake and there are consequences to face, or if we ever meet a water fairy helping us find a lost wood chopping ax, these are all opportunities for courageous choices and living in the light of truth.

But there is another kind of honesty, the core from which all of our interactions with people and society and God grow out of, and that is honesty with ourselves, who we are, what we value, what are our hurting and broken parts and what brings us joy. That honesty, that integrity, is called identity. Who am I? Really, in the quiet moments when I am not being slammed and pushed by the craziness of life.

Who am I? Honestly?

And I think in many ways, that is the purpose of El Cinco de Mayo. A pause in the calendar not to celebrate so much a battle between the tiny Mexican army against the big scary French, but it is an opportunity to celebrate who we are and the stories and people who have inspired us, formed us and given us ideas of how life should be lived.

And I have lived many stories that have become part of who I am, honestly. A long night of sitting beside my baby daughter strapped to plywood plank an intravenous bottle, in a tiny hospital in a refuge camp crowded with other vomiting babies and other mothers counting the drops dripping life into their beloved children, and some of the children died. Or the stories told around a fogata under the big bright Mexican starry nights, stories of staring into a machine gun and being told to grow drugs or die, and so my beloved Granillo family left their Chihuahua farm and lived in the dirt under the mesquite trees, chopping firewood to feed themselves for five years before they found a home. And my great-grandpa came to America when he was fourteen years old, and he didn’t speak English and he was all alone except for his little brother and yet he did not give up. And each of us have stories, stories from loved ones of suffering and struggle and facing the enemy and overcoming. Stories from where we came from that give us strength to go to where we are going.

The students in my Spanish class wrote I am poems last week. Who they were, who they are, and who they are becoming. Poems of wondering, of looking in the mirror. Of longing to see family, of facing the uncertainty of deportation, of looking for success and happiness.

And this is truth and honesty. We do not need to be discouraged. We do not need to be fearful. We can let go of anger and unforgiveness. We can be kind and gentle because each person we meet has stories too, stories of hard battles and winning or losing, but still standing up and not giving up. We can celebrate victory, ours and that of all who have gone before us. Our own personal Cinco de Mayo.

And today we celebrate another honesty called Eucharist. A time in the middle of the week to pause, to think, to consider what is true. To sing Somos tus hijos, Dios Padre Eterno. To read, “Though we are given the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide Himself, and when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, “This is the way. Walk in it.” We are image bearers of God. Beloved image bearers of God who will stop at nothing, even death on a cross, to bring peace and hope and love into our lives, that we might serve Him with courage and grace. This is what is true, in the quiet moments when we listen and consider who we are, with honesty. Who I am. Identity.

Prayers of the People (please stand)
Awake O Sleeper, rise from death.
And God will give you life.

Bring newness and change, to this community, O God, that we might serve You with courage and grace. Awake, O World, rise from death.

And God will give you life.