WORDS THAT UNSETTLE

Lenten Practice: Lectio Divina
Daily Act: Allow God’s Living Word to speak through you as you raise your voice for justice and peace. Find the courage to speak out against an injustice that weighs on your heart.
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.

“LIVING WORD, LIVE THROUGH ME.”

by Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

Politeness can be as much of an injustice perpetuator as anything else. There is so much we don’t say that is flaming hot in our hearts. What if these words are searing in their release? I don’t want to be rude. I don’t want to make anyone feel bad, even if we are complacent while oppression abounds around us, within us, because of us.

The prophets didn’t care. Their words promised searing. Their words provoked disruption of the status quo and had the power to make you shift uneasy in your seat. The prophet Isaiah is unrelenting about a God who desires justice and sees instead the greed and power-lust that are driving the oppressive, complicit, half-hearted actions of the people. I wonder if he had many friends.

“When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!” (Isaiah 57:13) Wow. Do I really want to be honest about my own collection of idols? It pulls in me as sacred tension. What am I clinging to as a hollow substitute for the real thing?

Sometimes words are holy that we do not want to hear. Sometimes what we do not want to hear is what we most need to hear. It’s hard to imagine at times that this is actually about the world as it could be… that this is actually good for us… like medicine bitter as it first touches the tongue to then work healing deep within.

I surprise myself with the burning yearning for words that are sharp and actions to match. There are times for sifting through complexities and then there are times for stating simply- ENOUGH. There are moments when the Spirit swells as clarity on the side of the oppressed no longer allowing us to hide behind ambiguity.

It is time to say we have had enough of
inequality
hunger
prejudice
greed
violence
polarization
endless consumption
destruction of the planet
complacency without thought of cost
politeness in place of faithfulness

I tremble at the thought of saying more. What will you think of me? I don’t want to sear you with my words… or myself. What do I do with this fire within? How do I balance the pastoral with the prophetic in a world that is aching for transformation?

Maybe I need to spend 40 days in a desert letting the red hot stone and sand and sun burn away at the fear in me, untangling my attachments to false idols, practicing saying “no” for a while to the things that seem like good options only at first.

Maybe then I will have gathered just enough courage to speak truth in love to what I see within myself, within the world… for the healing of myself, the healing of the world.

Do I even want to pray this prayer? Holy Confronter- Burn away what is false in me. Awaken me to injustice that I knowingly and unknowingly contribute to. Shake me out of my complacency. Unsettle me that I may be liberated from everything that is not your vision of shalom. Amen.

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