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Instruments of Liberation


Can you hear the cry for Justice?

Our streets are stained with the blood of the innocent, the cries of the oppressed are faint to the ears of those who care more about prosperity, power, and the protecting the american way than the freedom of brown and black people.  This socio-economic and political climate we are in troubles my soul! A land where social, political, and economic oppression runs rampant in the dawn of day and by night the public lynching and victimization of the racially oppressed….

My God, can we hear the cry for Justice from our brothers and sisters?

Of recent, while spending time in scripture reading, praying, and meditating,  the witness of Moses became a central focus of emphasis kind of ruminating in my heart.  Specifically, as the author of the book of Hebrews records the choice Moses made in Hebrews 11:24-26

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

Moses chose to leave the seat of authority, comfort and prestige to take up the plight of the oppressed, the lowly, the slave.  For the Lord, Moses chose not just the position of understanding the slave but becoming one of the slaves.  Moses chose to suffer the cost of slavery to glorify God by connecting with God’s suffering people.

As Christians, the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to rely on our faith to uphold the cost of rejection, imprisonment, the price of freedom in light of God’s greater reward before us.  The witness of Moses reminds us that faith in God empowers us (all) to act on behalf of the innocent and oppressed.

Listening to the teachings from Rev. Dr. Raymond Rivera, keynote speaker at the Covenant Justice Conference 2016 lit a fire in my bones.  Hearing Rev. Rivera introduce Captivity theology, as being an instrument of liberation through four models of ministering in the midst of captivity was impactful and insightful.  Of the four models, one stood out to me: Confrontation, because it was developed out of the biblical account of Moses confronting the fallen system of egyptian captivity.  

Like Moses in this passage, we have a choice to make.

If you can hear the cry for justice, how will you respond?

in Faith

You Must Follow Me - Part 1

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I have read many times about Peter denying Jesus three times on the way to the cross, and Jesus asking Peter if he loves him three times after the resurrection. In the Gospel according to John, an interesting exchange is recorded after Peter asserts his love for Jesus as third time:

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”  [John 21:17-23]

As someone who has committed to love Jesus, Peter still finds himself struggling with what it means to follow Jesus. He has already asserted with his words repeatedly that he loves Jesus, but Jesus is asking for more. He goes from love to Peter's calling: to feed Jesus' sheep. The outcome of love is action.

Unfortunately, it is more than the request to feed the sheep. The passage explains itself to the modern reader: Jesus tells Peter about the type of death which he will suffer for associated with Jesus.

The cost is high for Peter to follow, but he struggles to understand why the price is so high for him alone... why is he being singled out from all the other among the other disciples for such a dramatic and painful end? His attention immediately goes to finding out the cost to other disciples. Jesus challenges him: isn't it up to the Lord to decide what will be required? No matter the cost to others, Peter must choose to follow Jesus regardless of what it might cost.

Those of us who would call ourselves disciples have the same challenges. I am not sure why it seems to cost some people more to follow Christ. Some Christians go through tremendous suffering.

We follow, but we don't get the luxury of comparing our walk to others. We just don't have the perspective to judge what's equal and fair.  Like Peter and John, are we going to follow regardless of the cost?

(To read Part Two, click HERE.)