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““The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,”
Friends, by the time you read this, the WInter Olympics will already be under way. The International Olympic Committee states that its primary mission is to “promote Olympism.” Thanks, IOC. The committee further elaborates that this includes contributing to “building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.” Yet, as the games begin, we can’t help be aware that they are surrounded by nationalism and international tensions as well as sexual misconduct and abuse. We recognize that the stated Olympic values are not being lived to their fullest. While the athletes will be focused and intent on their individual actions, the world seems to be viewing the games with an eye toward disunity rather than friendship; mistrust rather than fair play.
As I consider this, I can’t help but realize that Christ’s church is in a similar position. We affirm values of faith, hope and love as well as the promises of life abundant and life eternal. Yet we know that the church is perceived as hypocritical, abusive and self-serving. While we can’t take responsibility for the state of the whole church, we can take responsibility for our own actions and how we can help Christ’s church to be understood as a place where the outsider is welcome and where we seek to live into the model of Christ -- feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and declaring release for the captive and recovery of sight to the blind.
I invite you to join us at Revolution on Ash Wednesday, February 14 at 6:30 p.m., for a service including the imposition of ashes. On Ash Wednesday, we recognize two things about our humanity: we are sinful, and we will someday die. But we also recognize that through the love of Christ, our sins are forgiven and we are offered the promise of life eternal. Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent -- the time before Easter which serves as a season of self-reflection. The Winter Olympics provide us with a powerful reminder that individuals can be more effective at living into an ideal than institutions can be. As you go through the coming days, use the image of the Olympics as a reminder to you to engage in reflection and self-examination. How are you following the footsteps of Christ? What changes in your life might help you be more fully responsive to God’s presence around you?
February 9, 2018 - 4:31 pm
500 W. 40th St. KCMO 64111(816)931-1858sunday mornings at 11:30