In two days we will know the future we will face in this country. It is important that we prepare ourselves spiritually for both alternatives: win or lose.
What are the strengths which we have developed this year which we must assemble in ourselves and among ourselves to prepare for these alternatives? I have prayed about this – and I believe that what we must focus on – in ourselves and between us – is the resurrection power that we have developed in this spiritual year. So today we call our message the “Assembly of Resurrection Power.”
In the last few weeks we have focused on other resources of strength that have grown this year: the power of our spiritual center, which we have called the assembly with the prophets, and our vision of seven churches; the strength of Familia Latina Unida and our vision that this ministry of the families would reach out from each of our spiritual centers; the organization of the next generation in La FuerZa Juventud; our growing understanding of the beloved community which provides a new, uncompromising order for all the aspects of the community we are building; and the strength that comes from knowing God has given us destiny, planting us in this country to bring his message of Justice and love.
Our task in the church is to become conscious of these spiritual developments that have grown inside us this year. Yet among all these the strength we will need to stand on is the power of resurrection.
Jesus called his arrest, torture, crucifixion and resurrection his Baptism. He died to the world so that he could be reborn in the spirit. We say he was the seed which had to be planted in the earth so that it could become the people of God.
To gather our resurrection power we have to let go of some things so that we can be reborn. You have to let go of your disappointments, your frustrations, your angers, your betrayals, the people who didn’t come through for you – all of the “If onlys” that you have. In truth, these all just amount to complaining because regretting and blaming does not help you move forward. You have to let go of these things or you will not find the seed of renewal that the Lord has planted in you. It will remain buried in your regrets.
It is good to look back to learn the lessons of history and to learn from your own mistakes. But it does no good to linger too long on what could have been – but isn’t.
We want to say, If only the Supreme Court had acted to allow President Obama’s executive order than millions of families would now be secure with papers and work permits.
If only I had not stopped on the highway to eat, than I would have been missed by the police who turned me over to immigration.
If only I had not gotten drunk and started an argument my family would now be together.
Then sometimes we get ridiculous. ”If only I had won the lottery last night I could pay the Com Ed bill today.” No you didn’t win. Yes, Com Ed will turn off the lights. Get your mind into today before you find yourself sitting there in the dark!
To let go of your regrets, to forgive those who have let you down, to stop complaining and do what has to be done, you need faith. You hold on to regrets and blaming people because you are afraid that you alone won’t be up to what you must confront. You make excuses because your faith is weak, your faith in yourself, and your faith in God and God’s people.
In the words of Jesus, you don’t think you can be born again. Jesus may have risen from the dead, but not you. Old Nicodemus told Jesus that being born again was impossible. Jesus replied that he could be born again in the spirit. In fact, the correct translation is that “You could be born again from above.” Then Jesus talks about the Spirit, the wind, that blows from “you know not where.”
You have doubts about this resurrection power. So let’s talk about being “born again”, “born from above.”
You are more than you think you are because you are “connected”. You are here because of the struggle and the wisdom and the perseverance of your ancestors. You are not only connected to them you are connected to their wisdom and perseverance.
You are more than you think you are. You are connected to millions of people who face the same things you face. I don’t just mean the threat of deportation if Trump is elected on Tuesday. I mean your day to day problems in your relationships and your marriage. I mean your day to day struggle with addictions, with jealousy, with betrayals. I mean your day to day struggle with paying the bills and providing for the needs of your children. In all of these things you are connected to a people of millions
You are not alone! The Spirit that comes from above is the Spirit that binds you together as God’s people, planted here to serve his purpose. You are bound together. You are connected. All you have to do is reach out to each other and you will find the strength and the help you need.
You are not alone today and you are more than you think you are because you are connected to the next generation and to those not even born yet. You are connected to them from above, in God‘s plan, in God’s purpose.
When Jesus was resurrected from the tomb his disciples had gone back to where he found them. They were trying to fish to make a living – but they weren’t catching anything. Jesus called out to them to put their nets down on the other side of the boat. Suddenly those nets were filled with a greater catch of fish than they had ever seen before. While the rest of the disciples pulled in the fish Peter jumped out of the boat and swam in to be with Jesus. He was so excited because he now felt his connection with Jesus, with a Jesus that his oppressors could not kill!
I know that you are worried about what will happen on Tuesday. So am I. But whatever happens you will be strong enough to deal with it if you draw on the gift God gives you – the gift of Resurrection power.
Trump insulted you. He called you criminals and said he was going to run you out of the country. To do that he needs to win this election. Yet already in the early voting all across the country millions more Latinos are going to the polls than ever before. Over 150,000 Latinos have already voted in Florida that had never voted before. They are citizens. They have papers. They don’t know you – but they are supporting you because they feel the connection with you – the connection from above.
During the time of Resurrection this year we counted the gifts that Jesus had left the people. There was the gift of baptism, of being born from above. There was the gift of reconciliation, of forgiving and being forgiven so that you could move on together. There was the gift of communion which gives you the power to convene: to convene your families, your church and your people. There was the gift of Prayer which opens the door to the Kingdom of God. There was the gift of abundance which gives you the vision to see that everything you need to confront your challenges is right there within your reach.
You are on a life’s journey which is also a spiritual journey. Think of how strong Jesus was when he faced the Roman authorities. He told them that “his Kingdom” was not of the Roman’s world and therefore he could not be defeated by them. He also told his disciples that the Kingdom of God was among them, that it could live between them, between their hearts.
I believe that we have come far enough in our movement that Trump will be defeated on Tuesday. The nation has seen your tears, your love and your courage. Yet there are powerful forces arrayed against us, political forces that draw on powers and principalities, on the wickedness of racism. I also believe that the strength we have built on this journey, the gifts we have been given, the Kingdom we have found with each other, has prepared us to organize a resistance to a Trump government that will protect us. God will show us the way.
If Clinton prevails on Tuesday than we will begin on Wednesday to press for what she has promised – and many more things which we have a right to. We will reach out to the connection that comes from above.
Many here have faced what millions face on Tuesday. They have sat in the back of a courtroom and watched someone they love face a judge who has the power to order them to prison or to be deported from this country. You have stood before a boss that could fire you, take from you the money you need to pay the rent. You have crossed the desert when you were abandoned by coyotes. You have been kidnapped and tortured. Yet you have survived. You have overcome.
You have overcome because you are more than you think you are. You are connected to a people. You are connected to a community that is bound together from above. You are connected to the true vine. You will be ready to face whatever comes. We are not afraid of Donald Trump. We will not be satisfied with Hillary Clinton. Our President is already in office because Christ is King and in him we are bound together and we are strong. Amen!
THE HOLY SCRIPTURES FOR THE SIXTH WEEK IN THE TIME OF ASSEMBLY
John 15:1-9 The Vine and the Branches
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit… This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
John 21:6-14 The Miraculous Catch of fish
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish…. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
John 3:1-8 Jesus Teaches Nicodemus
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”