The Sounds of the Reformation

This Sunday many of the Protestant tradition acknowledged the 500th year of the Reformation, as did we at Augustana Lutheran Church in Hyde Park, where Lutheran Campus Ministry has partnership in both of sharing space and sharing the work that Christ has called us into. Along with the parish Pastor of Augustana, we co-preached today. Here are the two excepts from that sermon:

Grace and peace to you,

My sisters, brothers and siblings in Christ

When will we allow ourselves

To experience the Liberation of the Gospel,

In order to live into the radical reformation movement

Today,

Because of the One,

Who leaves the path

Meets us where we are,

Frees us from our chains

So that we can run and tell it,

Of the Grace,

Mercy

And Love

Of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

(pause)

When I was in conversation,

With the call committee here at Augustana

One of the questions that was posed to me,

Was whether LCM would welcome in students

Who were agnostic,

Or atheist.

Why wouldn’t we?

What is that singular language

That transcends barriers

As we fight against inequality

And towards the common good

(pause)

I shared this piece of music,

With our Body and Soul worshiping community this past week

For me,

A sound of Reformation

I’d like to invite you in,

For just a moment

And listen.

https://open.spotify.com/track/1udC3ExRJCyACNWj90LwFi

These gathered workers

And protestors

Raised their voices

At the end of a funeral mass

Of one of their own

Who was fighting racism,

In the violent chaos

Of the Jim Crow South, segregation

And the shadow of the lynching tree.

This was the song they sang in this church,

Regardless of the origins of their journey

And how they did and maybe perhaps did not connect to the Creator,

But that they were committed to fighting against these sins

This evil

That had permeated our living here, in America

Because they acknowledged the humanity

That was before them,

Sacred bodies sitting next to one another,

Just as we are now

Living

Breathing

Being.

(pause)

Bonhoeffer says,

“As much as the Christian would like to remain distant from political struggle,

nonetheless,

even here the commandment of love

urges the Christian to stand up for his neighbor.

His faith must know whether the dictates of the state

may lead him against his conscience.”

We,

If we are bold enough

Vulnerable enough

To Confess

As collective followers of Christ,

We,

Have failed to live out our responsibility.

We are quick to lift up martyrs

Such as Bonhoeffer

And King

We idolize Jesus Christ

As nothing more than a figurehead

Who was gentle with everyone,

Who taught forgiveness

But we forget that Jesus Christ,

Was angered at the callousness of how we treated one another

How we made sacred spaces,

Nothing more of a place of economic greed and gain

We forget,

That Jesus rebelled against the State

The Empire

And yes,

Even Religious Leaders,

Who were more about serving a god of religious respectability

(pause)

And because He dared to speak against the status quo,

Rising out of his lower socio-economic status,

We forget,

Jesus Christ was a poor immigrant of Color,

And that today,

Jesus would have been arrested,

Detained

Deported,

Or

Executed.

(pause)

Mark Taylor,

In his book

The Executed God

Offers this

“Assemblies of Jesus

followers that effectively challenge the political repression

and existential anguish of today

will be those which work alongside interfaith

and inter-religious communities

and also with secular peoples of conscience.”

(pause)

If we are not living out our faith

Through ACTION

Through SERVICE

Why are we surprised

When we are criticized

By those who do not believe

When we,

Through our inaction

Our quietism

Create gaping holes in the Gospel?

(pause)

The Reformation did not happen

Just 500 years prior

The Reformation HAPPENS NOW

We have to be,

That living witness

That example

That proclamation

Just as The Creator God wrote a new covenant

Upon our hearts,

We in turn

Because of the Gospel,

Must write a new covenant with one another

Because,

Of our shared humanity

THAT is how we will build bridges

And raise our voices

In common song.

(Pause, end first section)

Music,

Is what is missing,

In our revolutionary fight

Against that which is evil,

In our lamenting,

Against that which wounds us

In our shouting

Against the silence

When we ignore the cries of the marginalized

And oppressed.

Music,

Says Dr. Ysaye Barnwell,

Of Sweet Honey in the Rock

Is the missing battle cry,

In our public dissent

Of the evils

That are revealing themselves more and more

And regressing us further back,

Until we end up,

Removing our selves

From the presence

Of the Creator God.

(pause)

What is our song now, beloved

Of the Reformation?

Will we be bold enough,

To sing the Good News

Or will we just lift up

Weakly,

The demands from the status quo

To tow their party line?

Where do we hear,

That God is our refuge and strength,

an ever-present help in trouble?

What songs will we take with us,

And sing in the streets

So that we become a public presence

Of the Grace,

And the empowering Love

That comes from Christ?

Do we hear it echoed

In Mercy, Mercy Me

Or the Times, they are Changing

Or even in Kendrick Lamar’s

We Gonna Be Alright?

Will we allow the Reformation to be televised,

Or will we allow it to pass right by us,

Like ships in the night?

Wasn’t Jeremiah,

That moment of transformation,

Of Reformation

Between God and God’s people?

These are questions

Of those who are discerning where they even fit

In the wider expression of the Church,

Because they see so much contradiction

They have gathered to write their own 95 thesis,

And nail it to the door

Of the Church

(pause)

Revolution plus

Reformation equals

Holy Spirit

FIRE

Be not afraid,

The Lord Almighty is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress

This here,

Psalm 46

Is a Battle CRY

When mothers sit alongside their newborn babies

In NICU hospital rooms,

And have to be reminded

God is our refuge and strength,

an ever-present help in trouble

When our Latinx siblings

Faced with being thrust from the only country

That they have known,

Stand visible in the streets

Knowing that God stands with the oppressed

Knowing that God gives them shelter

Hearing these words

God is our refuge and strength,

an ever-present help in trouble

When life becomes overwhelming,

When we cannot bear

How this life crumbles and pushes us down,

The Good News is,

We hear in the midst of our weeping

The Creator whispering

“Be still,

and know that I am God.”

The Good News Is,

Even as there is talk of desolation,

Because humanity refuses

To follow what Christ calls us into

Because humanity refuses,

To take up stewardship of what God has given to us

Because of GOD

Wars will cease,

Chaos will end,

And a new community

Will be born, cemented

Forever

Without End.

(pause)

Revolution +

Reformation =

A Holy Spirit explosion

That we must,

As Siblings in Chirst,

As Children of the Most High

Be engaged

Dedicated

NOW,

And sing out forcefully, until our voices shatter the darkness,

ushering in the Light and,

The Goodness of God.

Amen.

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Trybal Pastor

Child of Creator=Purpose; Guided by Ancestors = Revolution; Empowered by Holy Spirit = Transformation; Liberated through Ancient Spirituality and Ritual =Love.