October 29, 2013: With God, nothing is impossible!

Posted on : Oct 29th, 2013 | By | Category: Still Speaking

“With God, nothing is impossible”  Luke 1:37

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story about the angel Gabriel coming to Mary to inform her that she is the one God has chosen to give birth to the Christ.  The story is both quaint (antiquated – old fashioned) and real.  Let me offer one of my Biblical “mashes:”

In the sixth month the Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a young woman betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph.  The young woman’s name was Mary.  An angel came to Mary and said, “Hail, O favored one, God is with you!”  The angel scared the life out of Mary, and she said, “What the hell kind of greeting is that?!”  The Angel, being a bit defensive, answered, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God!  You will conceive and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the most High”… And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, you idiot?  I have no husband!”  And the angel said, “With God, nothing is impossible!”

How many times have we greeted angels with hostility?  How many times have we said to God, or ourselves, “How can this be?”  Then, to our utter amazement we discover, “with God, nothing is impossible!”

This Biblical story certainly defines the life of West Hollywood Church.  Over and over again we have been faced with what seemed like the impossible:  racial injustice, white flight, hunger and homelessness, Peace activists – anti-war protestors, counter-culturists – “make peace not war” hippies;  the call to ministry with those addicted to drugs and sex as well as those who were prostituted and sexually abused for monetary profit; Gays and Lesbians seeking sanctuary, then inclusion, then acceptance, then equality – Marriage Equality, but not just equality in marriage – full equality;  the call to care for gay men, then men and women, with HIV/AIDS and to support those who were terrified that they would be the next to “get it;”  the call and courage to leave behind the spiritually oppressive and abusive “church-of-our-childhood” so we could enter into a spirituality and spiritual community where we are loved, valued and accepted for who we are – all of us; not just some of us – just as God made us to be; and the courage to say, it’s time to change the way we think about God in ways that have only been done about once every thousand years in the history of Christianity.

In each and every challenge we faced here in the last 100 years, the first thing we could have said to God was, “How are we supposed to do this?  How can this be?”  But we didn’t.  Instead, we trusted in God and where God was leading us.   We went where we were called to go, not because we had the money to do it (that was never the case!), nor the numbers (we never had enough people), but simply because we knew “with God, nothing is impossible!”  If God calls us to do it, we can.

The call of God continues, even as we confront what seems impossible today.  We have a grossly inhuman and unjust immigration system in our country.   We let over 11 million people cross our borders when we wanted and needed “cheap labor.”  Now families are being torn apart as moms and dads are deported or older siblings and younger siblings are held in detention camps.  The gap between the super-rich and the poor is growing at an alarming rate in our country.  The issue of economic justice is as old as the cry of Israel’s prophets.  And within the next 30-40 years the earth will have reached what bio-ethicists refer to as the point of human unsustainability.  In other words, the earth will not be able to produce enough food or natural resources to sustain the growth in population.  What that means is that in a relatively short period of time, the world must face the harsh reality that children will be born with the full knowledge that they are being born only to die.  That reality makes the current fight to deny women the right to make responsible choices regarding their reproductive health seem absurd.

In spite of what seem like impossible needs, God will still be calling communities of the faithful, like West Hollywood UCC, to speak up and speak out – to proclaim and live a better way – a way that is just and fair and “of God.”  It is that “Way,” the Way that Jesus said he was (“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”) that we are called to live.

I don’t expect to be here 40 or 50 years from now but I trust with all my being that God will be, and West Hollywood Church will be one of the few churches still speaking for our Still Speaking God.  That’s because we already have 100 years of knowing that “With God, nothing is impossible.”

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