“Be thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart.”
These words are heavy on me tonight, and they pull me to do something I don’t do often. In fact, they pull me to do something I don’t do, ever.
To preach not from my pulpit, but from my knees.
Be thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart. Give me a voice, if only for a little while.
Because I know that you are there.
Not in some metaphorical, neo-post-modern hazily defined way, not some sort of meta Super presence explained in general terms and careful words, but a God so large that my human mind can’t even begin to capture you in my limited imaginings.
Jehovah. Yahweh. The God of my ancestors. The great God of the Mountains.
Abba. My Father.
And I need you tonight, God, because I am so afraid.
The streets of my country are red with blood, and good people, good people, on all sides, face one another with fear and hatred and suspicion.
Guns are everywhere, and black and white and brown people are dying.
And all of us believe we have it right.
Just once, beloved Lord, guide my hands. Give me the words.
Because someone has to say that all of you are part of me and I am part of you and if I cut off my right leg I’m going to bleed to death just the same as if someone else cut it off for me.
Someone has to say that black lives matter and white lives matter and brown and red and yellow and any other color that we come in. Police lives matter and dope boys lives matter.
Queer kids matter, and atheists matter. Muslims and Jews matter. Christians matter. Buddhists and Pastafarians matter. Straight guys and Dude-bros matter. Cis-girls and church ladies matter. Refugee lives matter.
Don’t you get it yet?
There’s no such thing as denying rights to your little toe and granting them to your elbow. We are all one thing.
And it doesn’t matter what you call God, or the Goddess, or Allah, or Him or Her or Them or the empty spot where a god would be if you believed in one but you don’t.
God is either big enough to encompass it all or it isn’t God. God wears every face, and none.
I believe in one God, one immense awesome God, and that belief rocks me to my core, over and over again, because the God of my heart is too big to be worried about what it is called or whether or not you think it should have a penis or a long white beard.
My God makes me fall to my knees in awesome wonder that there should be so much grace. And that is what we keep missing, that grace.
God doesn’t need us to defend it. It doesn’t need us to defend the words written in holy books. It doesn’t need us to kill. It doesn’t need us to even believe that it exists, because it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to believe in tables- they exist anyway.
My God surrounds me every day.
The face of a baby. The swirl of the stars. The fact that I am breathing.
So much grace.
So start acting like it.
Feed the hungry, until there are no more hungry people. Do what you have to do to make sure that everyone, in every country, can eat. Stop policing what people buy, make food affordable. Give it away if you must. Refuse to eat a $50 dinner or drink a $20 bottle of wine until everyone has food. Give people fish, and bread, and throw in dessert- do it before you teach them to fish.
Do it while you’re teaching them to fish.
Share the water those fish swim in. Put down the bottled water and help to make tap water drinkable again. Fight the companies who would privatize water.
Bandage the sick. If you can’t do it yourself, make it possible for doctors and nurses and clinics to do it. Don’t let one more person die because they don’t have access to care.
House the world. I’m not talking in metaphor. Live together. Live in shared housing. Live in extended families and communes. Live in intentional communities and shared spaces. Put a roof over someone’s head if you can. If you have no space, work for community housing for the poor and homeless. Don’t argue about how they have to behave once they are there. Don’t insist on sobriety. Give people homes. Trust them. Some of them will screw it up- keep trusting anyway.
Close the jails whenever possible. Free the people incarcerated in the name of prisons for profit. Reopen the WPA if you want to give people jobs- we don’t need chain gangs. Reserve the prisons for those who commit violent crimes and felonies- those that the rest of us need to be protected from. Tell those felons that they are people too- and treat them like it. Visit them- let their families visit them. Educate them. Teach them to live normal lives. Teach them what it means to be treated as a valuable human.
End the violence. Stop the senseless murder of other human beings because when one of us can't breath all of us suffocate and right now the air is getting heavy. Err on the side of Love over and over again.
Don’t just tell anyone what your Holy Books say- live it. Let us look at your life and see the face of your Divine.
Stop making it all so complex. Be the Book. Be the Books. Be the Divine.
And stop a minute, now and then, to pray. To say thank you. To say “I’m here.” Sometimes a prayer is just looking around. Sometimes it is breathing.
Go down in the river to pray. Baptize yourself clean.
Get down on your knees.
And then get up.
And help me to stop this ride we are on before the water washes us all away.