Meditation for Sunday, June 20, 2021
Now is an acceptable time.
In our passage from 2 Corinthians Paul is consoling the community at Corinth. And he begins by quoting Isaiah 49:8-13 “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” He is harkening back to Isaiah’s prophecy of the renewal of Israel after the exile, a time when prisoners are set free and God comforts the people.
Paul is drawing on this passage to help those suffering in Corinth feel consoled and connected to the revelation of God, which is not ancient but is also present in his own time.
In the Gospel of Mark we find another story of revelation: Jesus calms the storms for the boats at sea. With one reproach to the wind the disciples are saved and the identity of their teacher is revealed. God’s kingdom is now.
And now is an acceptable time.
This Saturday we are celebrating Juneteenth when the last of the slaves in the USA were emancipated in Texas in 1865 enforced by the US army. Yesterday President Biden of the United States signed legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday. It passed in the House and Senate with bipartisan support. The acknowledgment and reparations for individuals, families and communities is late coming. Even with all of our anti-racist training we cannot make up for the slave trade, for the racist policies that were set into motion following emancipation and their destructive flow into the present. These policies have destroyed individuals and families; and have denied the United States from actualizing its true genius by disenfranchising and squashing the genius, artistry, and gifts of our very own people.
This anti-racist work is imperative now. Being a non-racist simply enforces a status quo of racism. Being a non-racist and doing nothing simply allows for the continuation of a racist culture. Anti-racism work is not about guilt. Anti-racism work guides us toward the truth; toward the work of repairing broken systems and making things new for a new and loving world for our children.
In every generation the church has an impact to make and a prophetic voice to be heard because God’s revelation is not simply in the past with Isaiah; it is not solely in the past with Jesus; and it is not only in the past with Paul. God’s revelation is then and it is now. It is always an acceptable time.
image by Heather Sisk, plaster cast with bronze patina (original clay sculpture)