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Monday, January 15, 2018

Humility for Jedi

“This is not going to go the way you think…” –Luke Skywalker

It’s possible that these words are fresh in my mind, because I have now seen “The Last Jedi” three times.  I don’t even love the movie, but we are intergenerationally a Star Wars family for life, so you have to see it with everyone.  That’s just how the force works. 

I feel relatively confident that I am the only one left (in my family… maybe in the world…) who is still holding out hope for the redemption of Kylo Ren.  As it turns out, there are a few things in life that are truly unforgiveable, and apparently killing Han Solo… your father… is one of them.  But this Luke Skywalker line… it’s bothering me…

What does this have to do with the flip flops, glitter, or theology?  Let’s hope I can make a connection, or this post is going to be a bust!

Humility is a funny thing (not humorous, just funny).  I should probably admit, at this point, that it was my intention to write a post about success, today.  I’m now saving it for tomorrow… or next week… or someday… or never… we’ll see.  This change in direction all started with a sermon quote from yesterday’s worship gathering:

“Sometimes the price to be paid for freedom is loneliness…  Change always comes with loss.”[i]

Then I ran across a quote from Martin Luther King Jr., which is at least equally true:

“It’s always the right time to do what is right.”

Dr. King said so many important things, and this is not ordinarily the one I might quote on this day of remembrance and celebration of his life and work, but it somehow seems fitting. 

So, what is right?

Psalm 25 underscores the concepts of loneliness and humility and confession and systemic change, all around.  I have included most of it here, with some parts that stood out to me, specifically, highlighted in red:

Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,
    for they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
    according to your steadfast love remember me,
    for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!
Good and upright is the Lord;
    therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
    and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
    for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
11 For your name’s sake, O Lord,
    pardon my guilt, for it is great.
12 Who are they that fear the Lord?
    He will teach them the way that they should choose.
13 They will abide in prosperity,
    and their children shall possess the land.
14 The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,
    and he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever toward the Lord,
    for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart,
    and bring me out of my distress.
18 Consider my affliction and my trouble,
    and forgive all my sins.
19 Consider how many are my foes,
    and with what violent hatred they hate me.
20 O guard my life, and deliver me;
    do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
    for I wait for you.

The daily office continued to push me hard, this morning, as I leaned in to Hebrews 4 and considered the tested yet sinless Jesus and my own need to, “approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that [I] may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (4:16).

Accusing others of guilt is tempting, but as confession so often does; it must begin with me… with you… with those in leadership who have an opportunity to deal gently with others… with those called by God, offering sacrifices first for our own sins: personal, communal, and systemic (see Hebrews 5:3-5).

Well, that’s humiliating.  It’s lonely.  And, it’s not how I thought this was going to go.  Following Jesus rarely does.


[i] I don’t know who originally said this, but she was right.

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