VIA CREATIVA – Mothers of Invention – Alertness

By: Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

This Sunday, January 14, 2018, we began our new Via Creativa theme of Mothers of Invention. During this quarter, we’ll be exploring how we can bring forth that creative spirit of invention that can transform not just our inner world, but the world around us. There are dreams that call you, possibilities that tantalize you, undiscovered oceans of opportunities and glistening effervescent pinpoints of desire which prod you, nudge you, stir and stimulate you to jump start that creative engine within you – that wild and unruly bit of your DNA that longs to fashion something new. Tom Robbins writes, “Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.”

This Sunday, we explored how being alert can be a direct path to that playful, rebellious and immature spirit that gets our creative juices going. Below is an excerpt from the sermon celebrating the miracle of stars, along with a link to audio of the sermon and the full celebration.

From the Hebrew Scriptures: Isaiah 42:1-7: … to open the eyes of the blind…
From the Jesus Story: Mark 4:1-11:he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
From A Course in Miracles, Chapter 9: … you can learn how to awaken.

Song used in the sermon: We Are the Ones – Melissa Etheridge

If being a follower of Christ were illegal, would there be enough evidence to convict you? This is the question at the heart of a parable written by author and theologian Peter Rollins. He tells the tale of a man presented in court as a Christ follower and all the evidence the prosecution brings against him, including his vast collection of worship music CDs, poems, prose and other writings he had produced about his faith, all the religious paraphernalia and books collected at his house and the final piece of evidence: a well-worn Bible with notes in the margins and many underlined passages.

After hours of deliberation, the judge returns and declares the man not guilty. The man protests, “but what about all of the evidence?” The judge tells him: “We have no interest in such armchair artists who spend their time creating images of a better world. We exist only for those who would lay down that brush, and their life, in a Christ-like endeavor to create it. So, until you live as Christ and his followers, until you challenge this system and become a thorn in our side, until you die to yourself and offer your body to the flames, until then my friend, you are no enemy of ours.”

It reminds me of the joke about egg and ham breakfast: “The chicken was interested, but the pig was committed.”

King, Evers, Hamer, Jackson, even T.R.M. Howard, were not just armchair activists, complaining about Jim Crow or even just giving powerful speeches or writing nice prose about their objections. These people were committed. They put their very lives on the line to see that African-Americans were no longer treated like second-class citizens in this country. They had gone from the baptism of water to the baptism of the spirit. They were the ones Isaiah prophesied about in today’s Hebrew scripture reading:

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.”

“I have called you in righteousness,” Isaiah said of these servants who got off the couch and into the streets. This call is not just for the Kings, Evers, Hamers, Jacksons or Howards among us but for every single one of us. We are summoned by God to speak and act rightly, and when we do, God assures us, “I will hold your hand,” which literally means that God will give us the strength we need to be alert and active for justice in this world.

That doesn’t mean that it will be easy – both King and Howard were attacked, physically and politically, for their activism – but if we’re about God’s business in this world we will have the strength we need. We should not be surprised, though, when we challenge the egoic structures of inequality and injustice in this world that the powers that be will see us as a threat and fight back. In that moment, though, you will have proven yourself guilty of not just following Christ, but acting from your true Christ consciousness that does everything it can to answer the calls for love in this world with real justice and compassion.

It is this adversity we face when we’re really following Jesus’ model for living, that become the mothers of invention for us. King knew that to meet the violence of bigotry with more violence would never break the cycle – so he came up with what he called “Satyagraha” or “Soul Force.” This philosophy of nonviolent resistance was based on the Hindu concept of ahimsa or “non-injury to living things.”

King said of this method: “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

That “we” King refers to aren’t just those of his time. That “we” is us, Jubilants. We are the ones who are still called to enact creative forms of non-violence in the name of justice and equality even today – maybe especially today. We are Isaiah’s long-predicted servants the world awaits. We are the mothers of invention who must be alert to every opportunity to bring God’s love, justice and compassion into this world in new and creative ways.

Jubilants, if you were accused today of being a follower of Christ, would there be enough evidence, not in the form of writing, studying or thinking, but in actual action in the world, to convict you?

Breathe deeply.

Listen to the full sermon.

Listen to the full celebration.

Here’s your assignment this week:  I invite you to be alert to the calls of love that are constantly being sent out around you this week. Listen for the wisdom of the words of friends, family and even enemies. Seek creative ways to bring God’s justice and love into the world, and instead of being an armchair spiritualist, get out in the world and build that case against yourself that you about God’s business of love in the world, because that’s the kind of living that will make you say: “Oh, Yeah!”

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