THE SOURCE OF OUR STRENGTH Third Week in the time of Pentecost

June 18, 2017

 

On this Sunday we take note that President Trump has formally rescinded the order called DAPA, the order giving legal deferment and work papers to the undocumented parents of U.S. citizen children. That is a bitter pill for us to swallow. We had fought hard for that executive order since the founding of Familia Latina Unida 15 years ago. Still, even as we face Trump’s injustice we are watching the Trump administration and the Republican Majority in Congress falling apart, caught in illegality and lies and turning on itself. We are sure that the Trump seizure of power will end in four years and that what we fought for will be won – in an even stronger way than it was before.

.At the same time, even as we face some deportation hearings in July for families in this church, we should remember that we fought and won many victories for those families who stood strong, and with whom we stood strong with them. U.S. citizen children that were barely born when we began have had their mothers and fathers with them as they have grown up – because we fought, because we resisted together. Their presence with us and their willingness now to take up the fight is the fruit of our struggle.

Today is also fathers day. We honor the fathers that are here and we bring close in our hearts those from whom we are separated. We honor those fathers who were deported and have returned at great risk to support their families. And we honor those mothers who have had to be both mothers and fathers because of a broken law.

Today we focus on the source from which our strength comes, the strength that will allow us to persevere – and to persevere with joy in our lives.

We gather together each Sunday as part of our mission – to save lives, to keep families together and to keep our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters out of the criminal justice system – out of the hands of police and prisons. We join together to serve our community – but we do this by forming and making strong a community of faith and resistance.

It is a community of resistance because the main killer is not cancer or heart disease, it is inequality. Inequality of health care creates the 20 year death gap which means our community is being robbed of years of their life.

It is a community of resistance because this government is separating families and treating millions of people as criminals who are only trying to work hard and raise their families.

It is a community of resistance because our young people face police and a criminal justice system which has put more people in prison than any other country in the world – and because law enforcement has only added to the violence that exists in our community.

We are a community of faith because the faith of our ancestors, of our families, gives us courage to continue the struggle and shows us the way to unity, which is the most important part of our struggle. The world around us teaches us compromise, but our faith teaches us to stand for what is right – and to fight for it in the way we live our lives.

Our community of faith keeps us strong because it provides a journey of renewal each year. We follow the spiritual journey given us in the scriptures – and we put what we learn and experience spiritually into practice in our community – and in serving our community and in resisting inequality and injustice.

Today, we walk with the disciples. They have followed and learned from the ministry of Jesus. When Jesus was unjustly crucified, they went into hiding, thinking they were next. They experienced his resurrection and that gave them courage and reminded them of his teaching. Finally, they experienced the presence of a powerful Holy Spirit which gave them courage to go out among people who were gathered in Jerusalem from many countries. They told the people the truth: that the Romans and their own priests had murdered Jesus, a faithful son of god. They had murdered an innocent man. They offered people a way to repent of their indifference and to regain their faith and over three thousand were baptized.

The second day, the disciples went out and found a beggar sitting outside the gates that led to the temple. He was begging, asking for change. They told him “We don’t have silver or gold but get up and walk.” Suddenly the crippled beggar stood up, his legs were made straight and he walked into the temple with them, claiming the place in society which he had been denied. The disciples told everyone that they had performed this healing “in the name of Jesus Christ whom the Romans and the priests had murdered.

So today, we stand with two of the disciples who had been called before the local government because they said, “The crippled beggar was healed in the name of Jesus Christ.” They warn the disciples not to keep saying that Jesus was murdered, that an innocent man had been unjustly killed. But the disciples refused to compromise. “We don’t know whether it is right to do what you say but we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Because they have the support of the people, who saw the man healed, the disciples are released.

They return to their community of faith, pray together and feel the presence of a Holy Spirit which binds them together in their purpose, their unity and their mission.

That is the story from today’s scripture. How does it help us in what we are called and gathered here to do?

I ask you to walk in the shoes of the disciples and to see how they are walking today in your shoes. We are part of a movement that is demanding and working to provide equality in health care. We are engaged in healing people, getting them care. We do this in the name of our love for our families. We also do this in the name of all those innocent people who die twenty years before they should because of inequality. They are not responsible for the inequality in the health care system. They are innocent – and yet they die. So we do our work in the name of the innocent who have been treated – really lost years of their life – unjustly.

That is what the disciples did. That is what they were arrested for doing. Yet they were protected –by the support of the community and by God’ whose purpose they served.

We are also fighting the deportations that separate families. We are facing the Trump administration that has determined to deport as many people as they can. A mother that crosses the border because of what this country has done to the economy of Mexico or because of the violence that this country has brought to Mexico because of the drug trade, who works, who has children and sacrifices to give them a good life – she is innocent. She is faithful to what God asks her to do. We cannot stand by and let her be deported. So we fight for her – and for the sacred unity of the family of which she is a part.

We are working on the case of Miguel Perez. Miguel served in the military, two terms in Afghanistan, and returned with a brain injury and PTSD. He fell into drugs when he returned, was arrested and did his time in prison. Now they are moving to deport this young man who fought for them! We believe he is innocent and we are fighting for him.

We work to defend and to reunite families – to heal what the government would break apart. We are fighting inequality and we are fighting for Miguel. We do this in the name of the innocent who are unjustly treated. We are walking in the shoes of the undocumented.

Many people in this community are from El Salvador or Nicaragua or Honduras. Many came because of war in their countries – made worse by the policies of this government – or because of natural disasters like floods or earth quakes. They were given TPS, temporary legal status to stay here. Now Trump wants to take away that TPS status and separate them from the families that they formed here and the children that were born here. They are innocent but are being treated like criminals. We will defend them.

We will defend them and we will serve our community because we are like the disciples. We will defend what is given to us and to our people by God! So today, we seek to learn what gave the disciples the courage to do what they did, what we are beginning to do in this community.

In our struggle, we have saved lives. In our struggle we have fought against unjust deportations. Sometimes we didn’t think we had a chance but we won. We felt like God was with us. We felt these victories were an answer to prayer. And when we came together to reflect on what had happened we felt a powerful spirit and presence of God that bound us together, that made us stronger and that brought us closer together.

That is the feeling we want to share today – in this service. We are not just going through the motions. We call on the ancient scriptures, on the traditions of our ancestors in prayer and music, to help receive the spirit of courage and the spirit of unity that comes when you are doing what God wants you to do. I want to tell you today that that Spiritual Unity in the presence of God is such a powerful force in our lives and can build such powerful communities. You just have to open your hearts to it. You just have to walk in the footsteps of the disciples to feel it.

We have been blessed with a vision of the future, informed by the ancients, yet opening up the future like a book that is not yet written. We are building sanctuary communities. What I see clearly is that our sanctuary communities will survive but the Trump Domination will not. It will self-destruct like a terrible monster. It will self-destruct from its own hatred. We will survive it if we are faithful to each other and to God. That is the blessing of our community!

Tomorrow is father’s day. We will honor our fathers. Some of them are present with us. Some of them have been deported or are in prison. Some of them have passed away. Yet there is something special about the community of faith and resistance we are building.

When the disciples gathered with their communities, after they had been released by the authorities, they prayed together. They recited the psalm which wondered why governments and men in power fought wars and sought to run the world in their own selfish interests. Then they affirmed that these actions were in defiance of the order God sought on the earth.

They not only grew stronger in their faith that the order of righteousness and love and justice would prevail, they felt that order among themselves right then. That is what we should open our hearts to feel right know. When you stand with righteousness, with God’s purpose on earth, you can receive the gift of living for a time in His Kingdom.

If you walk with us – if you continue to walk with us – in the path the disciples made, in the path that Jesus carved out for humanity, you will put your self in the position to receive together this gift. Yet each of you must make your own decision for Christ. God gives us unity and a march through history together but each must find their own way into that movement in history, in God’s intervention in human history. Each must find their own commitment in solitude to be joined together by His hand, to experience his Kingdom between us.

In God’s Kingdom, in his time, there is no death and no separation. There is no injustice and there is no selfishness. The fathers we miss because they have passed from this life, the fathers from whom we are separated, they are here with us in God’s presence, in the Spirit of faith and resistance we share with each other today. You can almost reach out and touch them because love crosses the barriers of death and separation.

That is a miracle, a miracle you can experience in the community of faith and resistance. How do you experience it? Walk with us. Walk with the disciples. Walk with us in service, in resistance, in service, and that experience will come upon you, come upon us. It is a miracle that heals sadness and wipes away the tears of loss and discouragement – and leaves us whole and united. It is the source of our unity. In it we can see the victory we seek. In it we find the strength to survive difficult periods and the courage to claim the victory that is inevitable.

What the disciples knew was that those the powerful were willing to throw away would become the cornerstone of a just society that would outlast the Romans and the Temple Authorities. They told them that Jesus who was the stone they threw away would be the cornerstone of what will be built in the future. Today we share the experience of a community that will survive the current wickedness, that will not be thrown away – who will be the cornerstone of all replaces Trump as his power crumbles.

That is the experience we share today – with the disciples, with each other, with the angels – and with God.

 

 

The Holy Scriptures for the Third Week in the Time of Pentecost

 

Acts 4: 4-11 Peter and John Before the Sanhedrin

The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand. The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’

 

Acts 4: 13-22 The Courage of Peter and John

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

 

Acts 4: 23-31 The Believers Pray

On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: “‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one… After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly

THE SOURCE OF OUR STRENGTH

Third Week in the time of Penteost

 

On this Sunday we take note that President Trump has formally rescinded the order called DAPA, the order giving legal deferment and work papers to the undocumented parents of U.S. citizen children. That is a bitter pill for us to swallow. We had fought hard for that executive order since the founding of Familia Latina Unida 15 years ago. Still, even as we face Trump’s injustice we are watching the Trump administration and the Republican Majority in Congress falling apart, caught in illegality and lies and turning on itself. We are sure that the Trump seizure of power will end in four years and that what we fought for will be won – in an even stronger way than it was before.

.At the same time, even as we face some deportation hearings in July for families in this church, we should remember that we fought and won many victories for those families who stood strong, and with whom we stood strong with them. U.S. citizen children that were barely born when we began have had their mothers and fathers with them as they have grown up – because we fought, because we resisted together. Their presence with us and their willingness now to take up the fight is the fruit of our struggle.

Today is also fathers day. We honor the fathers that are here and we bring close in our hearts those from whom we are separated. We honor those fathers who were deported and have returned at great risk to support their families. And we honor those mothers who have had to be both mothers and fathers because of a broken law.

Today we focus on the source from which our strength comes, the strength that will allow us to persevere – and to persevere with joy in our lives.

We gather together each Sunday as part of our mission – to save lives, to keep families together and to keep our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters out of the criminal justice system – out of the hands of police and prisons. We join together to serve our community – but we do this by forming and making strong a community of faith and resistance.

It is a community of resistance because the main killer is not cancer or heart disease, it is inequality. Inequality of health care creates the 20 year death gap which means our community is being robbed of years of their life.

It is a community of resistance because this government is separating families and treating millions of people as criminals who are only trying to work hard and raise their families.

It is a community of resistance because our young people face police and a criminal justice system which has put more people in prison than any other country in the world – and because law enforcement has only added to the violence that exists in our community.

We are a community of faith because the faith of our ancestors, of our families, gives us courage to continue the struggle and shows us the way to unity, which is the most important part of our struggle. The world around us teaches us compromise, but our faith teaches us to stand for what is right – and to fight for it in the way we live our lives.

Our community of faith keeps us strong because it provides a journey of renewal each year. We follow the spiritual journey given us in the scriptures – and we put what we learn and experience spiritually into practice in our community – and in serving our community and in resisting inequality and injustice.

Today, we walk with the disciples. They have followed and learned from the ministry of Jesus. When Jesus was unjustly crucified, they went into hiding, thinking they were next. They experienced his resurrection and that gave them courage and reminded them of his teaching. Finally, they experienced the presence of a powerful Holy Spirit which gave them courage to go out among people who were gathered in Jerusalem from many countries. They told the people the truth: that the Romans and their own priests had murdered Jesus, a faithful son of god. They had murdered an innocent man. They offered people a way to repent of their indifference and to regain their faith and over three thousand were baptized.

The second day, the disciples went out and found a beggar sitting outside the gates that led to the temple. He was begging, asking for change. They told him “We don’t have silver or gold but get up and walk.” Suddenly the crippled beggar stood up, his legs were made straight and he walked into the temple with them, claiming the place in society which he had been denied. The disciples told everyone that they had performed this healing “in the name of Jesus Christ whom the Romans and the priests had murdered.

So today, we stand with two of the disciples who had been called before the local government because they said, “The crippled beggar was healed in the name of Jesus Christ.” They warn the disciples not to keep saying that Jesus was murdered, that an innocent man had been unjustly killed. But the disciples refused to compromise. “We don’t know whether it is right to do what you say but we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Because they have the support of the people, who saw the man healed, the disciples are released.

They return to their community of faith, pray together and feel the presence of a Holy Spirit which binds them together in their purpose, their unity and their mission.

That is the story from today’s scripture. How does it help us in what we are called and gathered here to do?

I ask you to walk in the shoes of the disciples and to see how they are walking today in your shoes. We are part of a movement that is demanding and working to provide equality in health care. We are engaged in healing people, getting them care. We do this in the name of our love for our families. We also do this in the name of all those innocent people who die twenty years before they should because of inequality. They are not responsible for the inequality in the health care system. They are innocent – and yet they die. So we do our work in the name of the innocent who have been treated – really lost years of their life – unjustly.

That is what the disciples did. That is what they were arrested for doing. Yet they were protected –by the support of the community and by God’ whose purpose they served.

We are also fighting the deportations that separate families. We are facing the Trump administration that has determined to deport as many people as they can. A mother that crosses the border because of what this country has done to the economy of Mexico or because of the violence that this country has brought to Mexico because of the drug trade, who works, who has children and sacrifices to give them a good life – she is innocent. She is faithful to what God asks her to do. We cannot stand by and let her be deported. So we fight for her – and for the sacred unity of the family of which she is a part.

We are working on the case of Miguel Perez. Miguel served in the military, two terms in Afghanistan, and returned with a brain injury and PTSD. He fell into drugs when he returned, was arrested and did his time in prison. Now they are moving to deport this young man who fought for them! We believe he is innocent and we are fighting for him.

We work to defend and to reunite families – to heal what the government would break apart. We are fighting inequality and we are fighting for Miguel. We do this in the name of the innocent who are unjustly treated. We are walking in the shoes of the undocumented.

Many people in this community are from El Salvador or Nicaragua or Honduras. Many came because of war in their countries – made worse by the policies of this government – or because of natural disasters like floods or earth quakes. They were given TPS, temporary legal status to stay here. Now Trump wants to take away that TPS status and separate them from the families that they formed here and the children that were born here. They are innocent but are being treated like criminals. We will defend them.

We will defend them and we will serve our community because we are like the disciples. We will defend what is given to us and to our people by God! So today, we seek to learn what gave the disciples the courage to do what they did, what we are beginning to do in this community.

In our struggle, we have saved lives. In our struggle we have fought against unjust deportations. Sometimes we didn’t think we had a chance but we won. We felt like God was with us. We felt these victories were an answer to prayer. And when we came together to reflect on what had happened we felt a powerful spirit and presence of God that bound us together, that made us stronger and that brought us closer together.

That is the feeling we want to share today – in this service. We are not just going through the motions. We call on the ancient scriptures, on the traditions of our ancestors in prayer and music, to help receive the spirit of courage and the spirit of unity that comes when you are doing what God wants you to do. I want to tell you today that that Spiritual Unity in the presence of God is such a powerful force in our lives and can build such powerful communities. You just have to open your hearts to it. You just have to walk in the footsteps of the disciples to feel it.

We have been blessed with a vision of the future, informed by the ancients, yet opening up the future like a book that is not yet written. We are building sanctuary communities. What I see clearly is that our sanctuary communities will survive but the Trump Domination will not. It will self-destruct like a terrible monster. It will self-destruct from its own hatred. We will survive it if we are faithful to each other and to God. That is the blessing of our community!

Tomorrow is father’s day. We will honor our fathers. Some of them are present with us. Some of them have been deported or are in prison. Some of them have passed away. Yet there is something special about the community of faith and resistance we are building.

When the disciples gathered with their communities, after they had been released by the authorities, they prayed together. They recited the psalm which wondered why governments and men in power fought wars and sought to run the world in their own selfish interests. Then they affirmed that these actions were in defiance of the order God sought on the earth.

They not only grew stronger in their faith that the order of righteousness and love and justice would prevail, they felt that order among themselves right then. That is what we should open our hearts to feel right know. When you stand with righteousness, with God’s purpose on earth, you can receive the gift of living for a time in His Kingdom.

If you walk with us – if you continue to walk with us – in the path the disciples made, in the path that Jesus carved out for humanity, you will put your self in the position to receive together this gift. Yet each of you must make your own decision for Christ. God gives us unity and a march through history together but each must find their own way into that movement in history, in God’s intervention in human history. Each must find their own commitment in solitude to be joined together by His hand, to experience his Kingdom between us.

In God’s Kingdom, in his time, there is no death and no separation. There is no injustice and there is no selfishness. The fathers we miss because they have passed from this life, the fathers from whom we are separated, they are here with us in God’s presence, in the Spirit of faith and resistance we share with each other today. You can almost reach out and touch them because love crosses the barriers of death and separation.

That is a miracle, a miracle you can experience in the community of faith and resistance. How do you experience it? Walk with us. Walk with the disciples. Walk with us in service, in resistance, in service, and that experience will come upon you, come upon us. It is a miracle that heals sadness and wipes away the tears of loss and discouragement – and leaves us whole and united. It is the source of our unity. In it we can see the victory we seek. In it we find the strength to survive difficult periods and the courage to claim the victory that is inevitable.

What the disciples knew was that those the powerful were willing to throw away would become the cornerstone of a just society that would outlast the Romans and the Temple Authorities. They told them that Jesus who was the stone they threw away would be the cornerstone of what will be built in the future. Today we share the experience of a community that will survive the current wickedness, that will not be thrown away – who will be the cornerstone of all replaces Trump as his power crumbles.

That is the experience we share today – with the disciples, with each other, with the angels – and with God.

 

 

The Holy Scriptures for the Third Week in the Time of Pentecost

 

Acts 4: 4-11 Peter and John Before the Sanhedrin

The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand. The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’

 

Acts 4: 13-22 The Courage of Peter and John

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

 

Acts 4: 23-31 The Believers Pray

On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: “‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one… After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly

 

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