2013_04 From the Rector
April 1, 2013
The Rev Chris Yaw+
God is Our Refuge
From the Rector, April 2013
Like many people in our parish I am really getting a lot out of our Bible Challenge.
I am joining many of you who are reading the Bible through in a year - and having to deal, anew, with the bizarre, puzzling, and sometimes infuriating texts in Scripture that opens our minds to the behavior of a God that is not always convenient to our New Covenant theology.
Recently we were reading in Joshua chapter 20 about the ‘cities of refuge’ the Israelites were commanded to establish to make room for those who had committed an accidental or unintentional crime. A ‘city of refuge,’ then, was a place where an offender could flee and not be harmed by his pursuers until a proper trial was held.
Like many of the more obscure texts in the Hebrew Scriptures, there is always more to the eye than we first might assume. Our weekly Bible Studies (Sundays at 9am in the Corner Fellowship Hall) help us to open up our understanding in a loving community that is of one mind in seeking to find truth in these passages.
So in reading this text I can’t help but see this as a way in which God is making provision for humanity and our sinfulness, errors, and accidents. God seems to understand well how capricious humans are. God seems to understand our desire for vengeance. God seems to understand that if we give a tense situation some breathing room we do well to live happier and more purposeful lives.
How have we appointed ‘cities of refuge’ for our sins, errors and accidents? How have we set aside some breathing room to let tense situations settle? How are we being called to prepare for the imperfect?
One of the more pervasive shortcomings in the Body of Christ is that we fail to see ourselves as God does. Perfectionism is rampant. Unforgiveness toward others, and ourselves, for missing a mark that usually no human could consistently make, can take over our lives. Judgment toward others, and ourselves, for our continual inability to live the ‘perfect life’ afflicts us much more than it should.
In this Eastertide, you and I ponder the world’s greatest story of acceptance, forgiveness, and mercy. We see in Jesus the desire for God to make peace with us, and hence for us to make peace with others and ourselves. We uphold the notion that God is our refuge, and in Jesus we are accepted in our brokenness, judgmental attitudes, and proclivity for vengeance instead of mercy. And I can’t help but wonder how Jesus’ work might be played out in my life. How might I become a place of refuge for others? How might I order my life more along the lines of acceptance and mercy? How might I begin to look more deeply at God as One who is given over to providing for me in my imperfection, folly and foibles? Yes, Jesus is our refuge, may we live more deeply into Him, and hence, become more able to share this with others.