-Rev Melissa Fain-
38 “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. 39 But I say to you that you must not oppose those who want to hurt you. If people slap you on your right cheek, you must turn the left cheek to them as well. 40 When they wish to haul you to court and take your shirt, let them have your coat too. 41 When they force you to go one mile, go with them two. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t refuse those who wish to borrow from you.
Matthew 5:38-42 CEB
Let's just take a moment and remind everyone again what this Lenten Journey is. It is in our nature to find ourselves in the text. There's devotion after devotion that are helpful on a personal level. That's not the point here. If anything you should read most of these and be uncomfortable. Forcing yourself see God beyond your personal context. It's not easy. It hasn't been for me. There have been devotions I've written that I wrote kicking and screaming. This is not easy, and if it were, I'd be doing it wrong.
White, college, South Africans in the 90's saw beyond themselves. Back in the late 1800's the Dutch and British had colonized South Africa. This wasn't for the native South Africans, but the natural resources the land had. It led to a terrible racial divide. The white South Africans held the power, and the black South Africans remained oppressed. This came to a head during Apartheid, a terrible time of racism and segregation. Beginning in the late 40's, and going until the 90's, the tide would turn with these white college South Africans.
There was nothing to be gained. These college students, standing up for the oppressed South Africans, were giving up an easy future for the sake of the other.
See? If they had been excluded from the discussion because they were the oppressor, the tide would have been monumentally more difficult for the oppressed.
Let's change the point of view. Being a female minister is not a cakewalk. I'm an oddity, a monster, a destroyer of scripture... a bunch of stuff that are silly and difficult. I've watched several women, smart women, who are ordained get pushed out for their gender. These are churches that supposedly raise female leaders in the church, and they are still unfairly pushed aside. What good will it do me to cut out anyone who has made my journey harder? Yeah, it sucks. Yeah, they knowingly and unknowingly hurt me on some level. I'd be very lonely if I didn't figure out how to be inclusive again. Sad as this sounds, I'm not looking for the American male equivalent of White South African college students.
Deep down, in the core of my being, I believe God is in the moment where something is no longer broken. This requires me to seek out those who make me uncomfortable. Not for me. It's never for me. It's for my kids. It's for the potential world they will live in some day. I've already accepted I'm going to amount to nothing, and I've found peace in that. Now I have to make the world better for everyone else. God is oppressing.
Pray with me:
Dear Lord... Amen.