Sunday, April 19, 2015

Earth As God's Body (4/19/15 Earth Day)

Earth As God’s Body
John Shuck

Southminster Presbyterian Church
April 19, 2015
Earth Day

       Song of Solomon 2:8-13
     The voice of my beloved!
            Look, he comes,
     leaping upon the mountains,
            bounding over the hills.
     My beloved is like a gazelle
            or a young stag.
     Look, there he stands
            behind our wall,
     gazing in at the windows,
            looking through the lattice.
     My beloved speaks and says to me:
     ‘Arise, my love, my fair one,
          and come away;
     for now the winter is past,
            the rain is over and gone.
     The flowers appear on the earth;
            the time of singing has come,
     and the voice of the turtle-dove
            is heard in our land.
     The fig tree puts forth its figs,
            and the vines are in blossom;
            they give forth fragrance.
     Arise, my love, my fair one,
                                    and come away.                                 
        Sallie McFague, Models of God:  Theology for An Ecological, Nuclear Age                                  (Philadelphia:  Fortgress, 1988), p. 77
     It is obvious, then, what sin is in this metaphor of the world as God’s body:  it is refusal to   be part of the body, the special part we are as imago dei.  In contrast to the king-realm model, where sin is against God, here it is against the world.  To sin is not to refuse loyalty to the Liege Lord but to refuse to take responsibility for nurturing, loving, and befriending the body and all its parts.  Sin is the refusal to realize one’s radical interdependence with all that lives:  it is the desire to set oneself apart from all others as not needing them or being needed by them.  Sin is the refusal to be the eyes, the consciousness, of the cosmos….

     The world is a body that must be carefully tended, that must be nurtured, protected, guided, loved, and befriended both as valuable in itself—for like us, it is an expression of God—and as necessary to the continuation of life.  We meet the world as a Thou, as the body of God where God is present to us always in all times and in all places.  In the metaphor of the world as the body of God, the resurrection becomes a worldly, present, inclusive reality, for this body is offered to all:  “This is my body.”  As is true of all bodies,        however, this body, in its beauty and preciousness, is vulnerable and at risk:  it will delight the eye only if we care for it; it will nourish us only if we nurture it.  Needless to say, then, were this metaphor to enter our consciousness as thoroughly as the royal, triumphalist one has entered, it would result in a different way of being in the world.  There would be no way that we could any longer see God as worldless or the world as Godless.  Nor could we expect God to take care of everything, either through domination or through benevolence.
     Romans 8:22-2
Dewey, Hoover, McGaughy, and Schmidt, The Authentic Letters of Paul: A New Reading of Paul’s Rhetoric and Meaning (Salem, OR:  Polebridge, 2010), p. 229
     I regard the sufferings of the present pregnant moment as nothing compared with the future splendor to be revealed to us.  For the whole creation eagerly anticipates the dis- closure of who God’s children really are.  For the purpose of the creation was suppressed through no fault of its own, but by the One who subjugated it in the hope that the creation itself would be liberated from its subjection to degeneration and participate in the splendid freedom of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been moaning with birth pangs until now; and not only the creation, but we who have savored the first taste of God’s power also sigh within ourselves while we await our adoption, the release and transformation of our bodies from their earthly limitations and fate.    

I could start with the bad news regarding our perilous state of affairs.    Earth 2015:  A Planet in A Pickle.   I could talk about how the fossil fuel party is over.  We have picked the low hanging fruit to satisfy the needs and desires of a world population that has increased four-fold since my father was born.    The rate of conventional oil production, that’s the sweet stuff that gushes out of the oil wells, peaked worldwide  several years ago and we are on the downslope of Hubbert’s curve.   Fancy technologies have emerged to reach the harder, dirtier, more sour oil and shale.   It doesn’t take a chemical engineering degree to see that there is no long-term future there.

On the other end, burning fossil fuels has resulted in filling our atmosphere with greenhouse gases.  The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere as of March 2015 as recorded by the Mauna Loa Observatory is 401.52 ppm.    We broke the 400 ppm barrier this year.  Scientists warn us that the upper safety limit is 350 ppm.   You are all familiar with Bill McKibben’s famous organization,  We passed 350 in 1988.    We have just started to feel the effects of climate change in terms of extreme weather conditions, rising sea levels, and so forth.  If we have any hope of slowing the rate of global warming we will have to keep the remaining fossil fuels in the ground rather than dreaming up ways to extract them and burn them faster. 

I could detail the “sufferings of this present pregnant moment” as the Apostle Paul phrased it.   I could go on and discuss our predicament in detail.  I am no scientist.  I am no expert.  I am just a simple country preacher.   But even I know enough to put you in a stupor.  But you know enough already.   Do we need another book or workshop or lecture on the acidity of the oceans or the melting glaciers or species extinction or Peak Oil?    Maybe we do.    Maybe we need to be reminded of our subjugated creation daily not just on Earth Day. 

It is possible yet at this late hour that we could reach an awakening, a tipping point, where the human species begins to function as an organism, rises up, and acts collectively for its own salvation, its own wholeness, its own healing and in so doing acts on behalf of life for humankind and all of the creeping, flying, jumping, swimming, running things with whom we share life.   Because I think that is what it will take.    It will take a collective rising. 

It will take the act of a body, of Earth as a body, of humankind as a body to produce antibodies to neutralize the pathogens of ignorance, greed, and bad habits so we may be nurtured back to wholeness and balance.   

Yes, we do need to be reminded of the reality of our situation.  We need to buck up and face it.   It is no use crying about it that it seems all so overwhelming.  Of course it does and it is.  But that gives us no excuse to live in denial.    We need good science.  We need to listen to our scientists.  We need to share what they are telling us.    We need to be tireless and fearless in countering all the denial and lies and misinformation that bombards us.    We need good science.

We also need good religion.    Some may prefer the word, spirituality, and I don’t insist.  Whatever you call it, we need it.   The task of religion or spirituality is to get us to wake up and to fall in love.   That is the job.  That’s what I think my job is, get people to wake up and fall in love.    Love is a sacred text.

There was debate whether or not the Song of Solomon should be in the Bible.   Rabbis had rules about it as to who could read it.  You had to be of a certain age.   Both Jewish and Christian interpreters tried to theologize it.  They tried to say it was about God’s love for Israel or Christ’s love for the church.    They wanted to cover this PG13 text with a holy veneer. 

But it is really just a sexy story.  It is erotic poetry that found its way into the Bible.   Of course it should be there.  In fact, there should be more of it.   Life isn’t about theology.  It is about falling in love. 

     My beloved speaks and says to me:
     ‘Arise, my love, my fair one,
          and come away;
     for now the winter is past,
            the rain is over and gone.
     The flowers appear on the earth;
            the time of singing has come,
     and the voice of the turtle-dove
            is heard in our land.

Wake up.  Fall in love.

One of my favorite quotes is from Gary Snyder in his book, The Practice of the Wild: 

“If we are here for any good purpose at all… I suspect it is to entertain the rest of nature. A gang of sexy primate clowns. All the little critters creep in close when human beings are in a good mood and willing to play some tunes.”

Religion as with everything forgets what it is supposed to do.  At times instead of waking people up and inspiring them to fall in love, it gets crabby, judgmental and pedantic.   

Sometimes we have to wake religion up, so it can in turn wake us up.    Walter Wink, one of my favorite biblical scholars, wrote about our need to wake up God.  In his magnificent book, Engaging the Powers, he wrote this about prayer: 

Prayer is rattling God’s cage and waking God up and setting God free and giving this famished God water and this starved God food and cutting the ropes off God’s hands and the manacles off God’s feet and washing the caked sweat from God’s eyes and then watching God swell with life and vitality and energy and following God wherever God goes.

When we pray, we are not sending a letter to a celestial White House, where it is sorted among piles of others.  We are engaged, rather, in an act of co-creation in which one little sector of the universe rises up and becomes translucent, incandescent, a vibratory center of power that radiates the power of the universe.

Wake up.  Fall in love.

Love what?  Fyodor Dostoevsky tells us:

Love all God’s creation, both the whole and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of light. Love the animals, love the plants, love each separate thing. If thou love each thing thou wilt perceive the mystery of God in all; and when once thou perceive this, thou wilt thenceforward grow every day to a fuller understanding of it: until thou come at last to love the whole world with a love that will then be all-embracing and universal.

Wake up.  Fall in love.

Fall in love with Earth. Fall in love with God.  Fall in love with Earth as the body of God.    If God is the symbol of our ultimate concern, a commitment of our heart, then how do we fall in love with God?   Some theologians suggest that we fall in love with God by loving God’s body which is Earth itself.    

This is a step that theology is taking that is helping us regard Earth as holy and sacred.   To get an idea of where we are now from where we have been, it is helpful to look at a figure of the past and see how they saw their purpose.   

I like to talk about Christopher Columbus to get a sense of where Christian theology once was.    An excellent book about Columbus is Carol Delaney’s Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem.

In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.    Why?

He wanted to find a fast route to China so that he could get gold.  With this gold he wanted to fund a crusade to take Jerusalem back from the Muslims so that Christ would come again.    

Columbus lived in a universe in which Earth was the center.    Circling Earth was the moon and the planets and the sun and finally in the outer reaches the stars.    God’s home was beyond the stars where Christ sat at the Father’s right hand.   Columbus regarded the Bible as providing the complete history of the heavens and the earth from beginning to end.  He did his own calculation as to the beginning of creation by adding up the genealogies in the Bible.  He also found a way to calculate when the end would come, about 150 years after his own time, he thought. 

He thought that he lived in a pregnant time and that he would be an instrument for salvation, helping to bring in Christ’s second coming and the transformation of the new creation.    All the redeemed, living and dead, would be resurrected and live forever with God in this new heaven and new earth.

He even saw the Bible as helpful for navigation.  This is 2 Esdras 6:42:

Upon the third day thou didst command that the waters should be gathered in the seventh part of the earth: six parts hast thou dried up, and kept them, to the intent that of these some being planted of God and tilled might serve thee.

Since this was the Word of God, it was true.   Columbus took from this that Earth was six parts land and one part water.   Columbus of course knew that Earth was a sphere.   He knew how far it was from Spain to China by land.  It would be a short trip the other way by water.   He couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t landing in China when he landed in what became the New World. 

I offer this little bit about Columbus to show not only how far we have come since 1500 in regards to our understanding of the universe, but to show also what we have lost and what we need to find again.   Columbus for all the weirdness of this theory had a purpose.  He knew who he was and what he needed to do to get to where he thought he was going.

He lived on a planet that was the center of the universe.  It had a beginning and an end.  Human beings were the apex of creation, fallen and sinful, yet redeemed by Christ and would one day live with him in a new heaven and a new earth.    It all worked out.    The holy book, the holy church, and all the divine agents all fit into this system.    Everyone had his or her place and purpose.  Columbus loved God by helping to usher in Christ’s literal second coming.

The Apostle Paul also lived in a geo-centric universe like Columbus.  Paul is much closer to Columbus than we are to Columbus in this way of thinking.  Paul, like Columbus, thought that we are to wait for the “transformation of our bodies from their earthly limitations and fate.”   

The goal was to find God beyond Earth.    Many people today resonate with that goal.    As far as I am concerned, it is great to be in different places in this journey.   I have no desire to take anything away from anyone.  I would like to add some things.

Now we live on a pale blue dot in the suburbs of the Milky Way, one of billions of galaxies in the universe.   Earth will spin long after the last human being has breathed her last.   We have the interesting task of rediscovering who we are as human beings in this uncharted territory.   We have the task not of taking care of our individual immortal souls, but of leaving an Earth that is habitable for our descendants.  

Human beings are still special in a way.  As far as we know we are the eyes, ears, and consciousness of the universe.  We are the universe itself being able to tell its story.   It is amazing to be alive.   We live in a far more interesting universe than the one Columbus thought he inhabited. 

The challenge for us, I think, is not to be overwhelmed by this adventure.   No, it may not be a literal second coming of Christ, and a new heaven and a new earth, or personal immortality, or God sitting above the stars.    

Instead we must ask:  How do we imagine God and fall in love with God?   What is our purpose?   In this emerging theological vision, Earth is our home. our only home. Earth is where we belong.  On Earth and in God, we live and move and have our being.    

Can we wake up and embrace this new challenge?   Can we fall in love with God’s body?  If we could have the same passion for Earth as our ancestors once had for heaven, perhaps as a body, we could rise up and be instruments of salvation.   


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Making A Way Out Of No Way (4/5/15 Easter)

Making A Way Out of No Way
John Shuck

Southminster Presbyterian Church
Beaverton, Oregon

Genesis 45:4-5
Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come closer to me.’ And they came closer. He said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.
            Where Do We Go From Here?            Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.         
When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of now way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows.  Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.

Let us realize that William Cullen Bryant is right:  “Truth crushed to earth will rise again.”  Let us go out realizing that the Bible is right:  “Be not deceived, God is not mocked.  Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  This is for hope for the future, and with this faith we will be able to sing in some not too distant tomorrow with a cosmic past tense, “We have overcome, we have overcome, deep in my heart, I did believe we would overcome.”
Mark 16:1-8
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

And that is the end of the Easter story.    The women leave the tomb terrified and silent.  

The original ending of the original empty tomb narrative in the earliest gospel, Mark, ends with the women fleeing from the tomb, “for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”  

And that is the end of the Easter story.    Terrified and silent.

It is up to us to finish the story. 

The Easter stories cause cognitive dissonance for many of us.   These narratives have been taught and preached as historical, literal events.    In this understanding, if we went back with a video camera we could have filmed these events including Jesus rising up bodily from the grave and then ascending through the clouds to heaven.   

That might have been plausible in a universe in which earth was believed to be at the center and you went up to heaven.  It would stretch our credulity to the limit to take these narratives literally today.    

Keith Ward, author of The Big Questions in Science and Religion reminds us that the Milky Way is 100,000 light years across.  If Jesus ascended at the speed of light and traveled for 2,000 years he would only be a fraction of the way through the galaxy, unless he attained warp speed.  (Scotteriology)

For Easter I put a photo of a butterfly on the bulletin cover.   Taken from Hubble Telescope this is the butterfly nebula, 4,000 light years away from us.  If Jesus were headed toward it, he’d be about half way there by now. The Hubble telescope took photos of galaxies ten to fifteen billion light years away.   This is the universe that is unfolding before us. 

Our religious texts and symbols come from a pre-modern world.   The pre-modern world was a supernatural one.    But the scandal of faith for them wasn’t supernaturalism and miracle, it was about how to live life.   How to respond to brokenness.  How do we translate the heart of the message to our time? 

What might it mean to say on Easter, “Jesus is risen” or “Jesus is lord” or as I say in my own faith statement, my statement of conviction, the statement of my heart:
Jesus, you are a living presence in my life.You are the Risen Christ.

What does it mean to speak of God?   What might it mean to believe in God?

This is the late Marcus Borg from his wonderful book, The Heart of Christianity:
To echo a comment made a half century ago by Paul Tillich…if, when you think of the word “God,” you are thinking of a reality that may or may not exist, you are not thinking of God.  Tillich’s point is that the word “God” does not refer to a particular existing being (that’s the god of supernatural theism).  Rather, the word “God” is the most common Western name for “what is,” for “ultimate reality,” for “the ground of being,” for “Being itself,” for “isness.” 
Marcus Borg goes on to say,
“the question of God is not the question ‘Is there another being, a supreme being, in addition to the universe?’  It is the question of how you are going to name, how you are going to see, ‘isness.’”  Pp. 70-1. 
In my words, I would say something like:  Life is.  How you approach life is the God you believe in.  

Life is.  How you approach life is the God you believe in.

Sometimes you have to say no before you can say yes.  Sometimes you have to say no to every version of god that presents itself.  

After my son died I was offended by every mention of God.  Every mention sounded like a rationalization of God’s absence, God’s negligence, and God’s willful rejection of my son.   The god who could have done something but decided that it wasn’t on his agenda for the day is a god that I do not believe in. 

Now I didn’t believe in the existence of God as a supernatural being long before that but I often felt guilty about it.  That perhaps my lack of belief was because I hadn’t suffered enough.  Life was too easy.  If I had struggled more or if I had suffered more, I would believe in the god of supernatural theism.    After Zach’s death I realized that I earned the right to be honest.  

What do you do when you are done with the god of supernatural theism?  When that god of a pre-modern universe doesn’t translate into a modern one, what is left?  It could be frightening.  It could be like the women running from the tomb terrified and tongue-tied because their entire universe was turned upside down and they didn’t know what to believe.   They said nothing.  

Sometimes you have to live in that silence.    

Sometimes you have to walk in the dark.

Oddly enough, I found church helpful.  Many of the stories resonated with me, especially the serious  ones, like Job, and the hymns, like George Matheson’s Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go:
O Joy that seekest me through pain,I cannot close my heart to thee;I trace the rainbow through the rain,And feel the promise is not vain,That morn shall tearless be.
I found there is a lot of space in our tradition for the godless.  And that space isn’t just hell as in, “Your going to hell if you don’t believe in god.” 

The heart of our tradition is that God is beyond images, words, and explanations.  God is no thing.   I now think of God as a commitment to a particular way of living.

The story of the women leaving the tomb terrified and silent is the way the author of the story meant it to end.   It is only when we admit to being terrified and when we have no words that we can start living.   When our world breaks, then we find our selves and what we might call God.   We have to let go of God to fall into God.   Then God is all around.  God is life.    God is not a being to believe in but a way of being. 

Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers.  Of course he was angry.  His brothers, felt the searing guilt whenever they looked into their father’s grieving eyes.   When they came to Egypt for food and didn’t recognize Joseph, Joseph played games with them. He had them go back and forth.  Joseph was working out his grief and his anger.   How could he reveal himself to them when he was still filled with so much resentment? 

Joseph plays a trick.  He has a silver cup secretly placed in the grain sack of the youngest brother, Benjamin.   He sends them home.  Then he sends his troops after the brothers to catch them.  They “find” the cup in Benjamin’s sack.   Joseph demands that Benjamin stay as a slave while the others go.  

Finally, it breaks.  Judah pleads.   He cannot go back to his father who has already lost one son.  He offers himself in place of his brother Benjamin.  Judah says:
“For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me?  I fear to see the suffering that would come upon my father.”

Only then, does Joseph reveal himself to his brothers.   Only then does his anger give way to compassion.  He sees the humanity of his brothers and he forgives them and he weeps.   He tells them to forgive themselves:
“I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.  And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.”

In all of this pain--in all of this wrong-doing, there is new life.  Joseph is finally able to interpret his own story as God preserving life.  He is able to let go of the bitterness with his brothers and embrace them in a new reality.   How do we interpret life?  How we do it and how we live is our God.  It is about how we see the “isness.”

Martin Luther King saw the “isness” as the arc of the universe bending toward justice.  He saw God as “making a way out of no way” of “truth crushed to earth rising again.”  

Maya Angelou similarly saw resurrection as rising from pain and shame.
Out of the huts of history’s timeI riseUp from a past that’s rooted in painI rise
What is resurrection?  Who is the risen Christ in my life?  It is a commitment to a particular way of life and to stand with those who have been broken.

Jesus wasn’t accidentally run over by a horse.  He didn’t die of illness or of old age.  He was executed by established authority as an example to others who defy Rome’s power.   Crucifixion was a public spectacle of imperial bullying.  He was a victim of the civilized world acting normally, protecting the elite from the unrest of the masses.   Protecting the economic interests of the privileged over against those considered a threat to their quiet.  

Jesus advocated another peace, not a peace through power, bullying, and forced silence, but a peace through justice.  He like thousands of others was publicly executed and humiliated to keep Rome’s peace and the peace of religious and political authorities who collaborated with Rome.    Jesus represented the marginalized and was himself marginalized.   He was as historical Jesus scholar, Dominic Crossan called him, “a peasant with an attitude.”   It was an attitude that got him killed.

But that isn’t the end of the story.  It ends with a miracle.

The miracle of resurrection is that eventually the women found their voice amidst their fear.   The miracle is that his followers didn’t lie down and die.  They didn’t give up and give in to their disappointment and discouragement.  The miracle is that they discovered that the vision of Jesus did not die with him.   But it lives, and thus he lives. 

They did what the angel said in the parable.  They went back to Galilee and continued the movement.  They continued the movement of radical inclusion, of boundary breaking, and of working for and living for a vision of a renewed creation this side of the grave.   In this new creation, the marginalized take center stage.  The poor are treated with dignity and respect.  The hungry are filled with good things.   The mighty are cast from their thrones and peace comes not through brute force but through cooperation and through a recognition that there is no us and them, but we are all in this together. 

Southminster believes in the resurrection.  We are celebrating a milestone in the long struggle for equality for sexual and gender minorities.   We will continue that as we recognize there are others with whom we need to stand.   

I wrote on my blog and Facebook page that we might have protesters again this week, but come anyway.  We will do what we always do.  Don’t fear, we will be safe with police presence.   A minister colleague commented that we must come from a place of privilege.  She lives and works with a population that does not consider itself safe around police.     She said she works with the mentally ill and wrote:
A high percentage of the police shootings in the US recently have been against people who they consider mentally ill. Many of them have been when families or people call the police for help during a [mental health] crisis.
She went on to say:
right after Ferguson, Code Pink held a meeting in DC with black families whose sons were killed by the police. There were several mothers there from the suburban Prince George's County in Maryland. It was so heartbreaking hearing mother after mother talk about how their unarmed sons were killed as the result of minor encounters with the police. Since I have the concern with people diagnosed with mental illnesses, I have been hanging in this crowd lately of people who fear the police due to race, disability and other factors.
And then she said:
It’s a sad state of affairs. But, in this holy week, I guess we should remember that Jesus had no one to call and nowhere that he was safe.
I told her that in our situation, the police protected the demonstrators as well as us, and reminded us that the protesters have every right to be on the sidewalk as we have to worship.    

But I wanted to tell you her story, because we do need to be reminded of privilege and what we take for granted that not everyone can afford to take for granted. 

Theologian Peter Rollins, often accused of denying the resurrection because he doesn’t view it literally, wrote:
Without equivocation or hesitation I fully and completely admit that I deny the resurrection of Christ. This is something that anyone who knows me could tell you, and I am not afraid to say it publicly, no matter what some people may think… I deny the resurrection of Christ every time I do not serve at the feet of the oppressed, each day that I turn my back on the poor; I deny the resurrection of Christ when I close my ears to the cries of the downtrodden and lend my support to an unjust and corrupt system. However there are moments when I affirm that resurrection, few and far between as they are. I affirm it when I stand up for those who are forced to live on their knees, when I speak for those who have had their tongues torn out, when I cry for those who have no more tears left to shed.
How we live our lives, how we see life is our God.

This is the third Easter since my son died.  I count time since that event, like BC and AD.   I don’t tell my story to call attention to myself or to infer that my grief is somehow special, it isn’t.  It is just mine.   I speak from my experience because I think others can resonate.  

The resurrection of Jesus, for me at least, is not about believing in life after death or believing that Jesus rose bodily from the grave.  Resurrection is not life after death so much as life after brokenness.    This brokenness is our individual brokenness as well as the brokenness of our world.   Still we rise. 

When our world breaks up and we are terrified and tongue-tied, we are invited by the angel at the tomb to go Galilee.   We are invited to go back to life, when we are ready, and to see it again.   

And what of God?

If God is making a way out of no way, I believe in God.
If God is rising after being down, I believe in God.  
If God is compassion and forgiveness that overcomes hatred and anger, I believe in that God, too.  
If God is brothers reconciled, I believe in God. 
If God is sisters dancing for joy, I believe in God.

If we are looking for, as the John Denver song said, something to believe in, we could do worse than to trust in the vision of the historical Jesus.  A vision that could live in our hearts.