…from the margins…
What's the essential condition for resurrection from the dead? You gotta be dead (of course).
Pastor Alan Roxburgh reminds us the poet and the prophet speak from the margins. I've been trying to explain I've spent too much time on the subverse, a location even more radical than the edges, but doesn't radical imply root and foundation as much as it evokes counterculture and unconventional? I've hung onto edges of mainline church and margins of mainstream society and I need to speak, I need to be heard. Abram was an Ivri, a Hebrew: one from the "other side"—not even from the edges or margins! In Christ Jesus we meet the God from the very other side...
In the past I've written lots about geographical and "other" centers, hearts, edges, margins but can't put many words together this evening. Earlier today I read something I wrote eight years ago and it truly wowed me. I've been trying to cull some books, especially those with content I easily can access online (no, not exclusively written by my professors) and I'm astonished at the heavy-duty theology I used to read for fun. Also surprised I'm not reading anything these days. Eight or nine years ago Marian C posted to me on a forum, "Leah, I think you're the kind of poet-theologian Pastor Roxburgh is talking about; the Church so needs your leadership at this time." I agree. The Church truly does need my voice and presence: call it leadership if you'd like! Interesting bit of my own history: long ago in city of history I was having a casual conversation with senior pastor who said to me, "You have some leadership ability but..." I finished the sentence: "I try to make sure everyone gets to participate," and he replied, "Exactly. And that's not always a good idea."
By definition edges and margins are parts of the whole and cannot exist with the usually larger main object that sometimes is called the center or at least presumably contains a center. Do you remember Gerry Rafferty's City to City? In "The Ark" we hear, "we'll meet out on the water, where all strangers are known." Water has no permanent edges, no enduring center. Still and forever I remain a daughter of the church. Paul Tillich spoke of the pain of our frequent human state if being separated and yet bound. These days in many ways I remain separate from the main stream yet eternally bound to the whole by Water and Word.
More recently than Gerry Rafferty, poet-musician Rascal Flatts sings "My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to."
The habitat that's my street address reeks of death but you gotta be dead in order to be raised to new life!
What is my wish for myself? Life, community, a summer, opportunities, resurrection. You need to move out the old furniture to make room for the new. I'm considering neatly completing the Easter cycle with the Feast of Pentecost at Church up the Hill and then figuring out a "what next" place and location. How on earth did someone like me who thoroughly, intentionally, and passionately prepared for a lifetime of urban ministry (after all, "I appreciate the concentration of pathology in the inner city," a somewhat younger me explained) find herself at a location like Church up the Hill? No response to that one! For myself I wish, desire, long for life, community, a summer, opportunities, resurrection. Life only can be received, as a room receives light simply by being and not being an agent of anything. That's Will Willimon's analogy, though likely not at all original with him.
Sunday two days away we celebrate the Day of Pentecost, the Spirit of Life that raised Jesus from the dead.
My life cries out for resurrection.