Psalm 107:1-9, 43
Let the redeemed give thanks - whether they should have needed to be redeemed or not.
There are folks who are outcast because of their very being, according to one religious source or another. They don't need redeeming for their being and yet they are outcaste (caste-away) far enough to feel that way.
In recent days, comparatively, the ELCA has "redeemed" some of its years of discrimination and loss of pastoral gifts and graces from gay and lesbian sisters and brothers. The Presbyterians, even more recently, are following at their pace. The United Methodist Church still has a goodly way to go to find their strength in using all the gift and graces available to them.
The pastor of a local Reconciling in Christ congregation in the ELCA recently returned from a convention in Minneapolis and I thought part of his newsletter reflection should be shared more widely as we continue to grow in wisdom and give heed to gathering the scattered.
I come away with a new appreciation that much of our Holy Scriptures was written for persons who are on the margins of the world. Here is a small list: Hebrews as slaves in Egypt; Hebrews wandering in the wilderness; the people of Judah in exile in Babylonia; Psalms for all occasions including sadness and loneliness; Lamentations as cries of many hearts; words to Gentiles who were considered unclean and outside God's love; a voice touching the lives of lepers excluded from community; words of acceptance addressing women and children rather than men.
How many times have you come to church wondering if anyone understood how you felt? It could be your sexual identity, your loneliness, your struggles with depression or other emotional health issues, the daily struggle with unrelenting chronic pain, unemployment, struggles with family or spouse or partner, grief at a recent loss. The Word of God is spoken to those who most need God's living presence. The Word of God is not meant just to bless those who are already blessed. It is meant to cut to the heart of our very existence, with our deepest pains and longings heard by God, and to bring us to God's word of new life and new hope in all circumstances. Many who are with us at any worship or gathering are living in the margins or feeling that way.
Which part of you has been marginalized? Who in your larger family has been marginalized? As you give thanks for the expression of G*D's steadfast love in your life, may you know there to be enough to share with others.