Silenced

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Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 62; 145, Jonah 1:17-2:10, Revelation 11:1-14, Luke 11:14-26


Along his travels, Jesus encountered a man who was rendered mute by a demon. Jesus cast the demon out and the man began to speak. The crowd was amazed, through some of them claimed Jesus cast out demons because he trafficked with demons. He rebuked them by saying a kingdom divided against itself could not stand.

Dark forces always prefer our silence. For centuries the demons of racism, sexism, poverty, homophobia, religious persecution, and other persuasions have silenced countless people. Fears of rejection and retaliation muffle our truths. From slavery through suffrage through the civil rights era through today, the Bible itself has been used to dismiss generations of cries for justice. We effectively silence each other by refusing to listen: if your candidate, doctrine, or experience differs significantly from mine, too often I reject it outright without considering what it has to say about mine.

When I am forced to listen, if your words make me uncomfortable, I will find excuses to discredit them. Maybe I can’t pin it on Beelzebub, but your party, nationality, education, income, or number of piercings conveniently justifies my suspicions.

Fortunately, Christ’s power and love ultimately loose the tongues of the oppressed. God’s Kingdom is united around the language of justice. How do we make sure that kingdom is not divided? Martin Luther King, Jr may have summed it up best: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We must recognize that the injustice which concerns us does not stop with the relief of our own oppression, or that of people like us, but extends to such relief for all God’s beloved children. The members of a united house speak truth to each other, especially when the house is in need of repair to keep it from collapsing under its own failings.

When Jesus restores our voice, let us use it wisely and compassionately. When others undermine and defame us, let us remember we are a kingdom united around justice. In the words of James Weldon Johnson:

Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty.

Comfort: You have  a voice that deserves to be heard.

Challenge: Try to listen for voices you have been dismissing.

Prayer: Creator God, I lift my voice in praise and love to you. May I join with all of creation in singing your song of love. Amen.

Discussion: When have you felt like you weren’t heard?

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