Nation, Race, People, Tongue
#NationRacePeopleTongue is the podcast for May 12, 2019, The 4th Sunday of Easter. The number one threat to U.S. national security is the number one threat to the Church. Don’t give the Devil an easy win. Listen here and find out more: Download it into your phone. #Revelation7 #Racism #GospelLife #Martyr #LambofGod #King #FirstCommandment
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For listener supported My Spiritual Advisor, this is Fr. Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 5/12/2019 The 4th Sunday of Easter.
Please pause this audio and read Revelation 7:9-14 and John 10:27-30.
I teach a class at Indiana University Northwest. It is a 400 level capstone course for General Studies graduates. It relies heavily on my studies and experience in my Bachelors Degree in Political Science. Back then, I concentrated on the Soviet Union and, in particular, the KGB and their methods of espionage (For those of you who do not know, the KGB was the Soviet Union’s version of the CIA, but worse). For thirty years, that education was irrelevant until the 2016 election and the massive disinformation campaign by the Russians in the United States election using the very same techniques that the KGB used during the Cold War. What was different was that this time they had the internet and social media.
It was nothing for the KGB, back in the day, to start legitimate news organizations in other countries years in advance of when they would need to use them to drop misinformation. Back then, they needed to buy buildings and hire people. Now, with the internet, the FSB (the latest acronym for Russian intelligence) can just start up a computer, hire a fraction of the people, and begin to exploit the weaknesses of any country on earth. They need only create a fake persona that looks like a real news outlet with articles that are somewhat plausible, or a persona as a real person with an opinion, and put forth information which encourages us to hate each other. The idea is simple, if we are spending our time hating each other, then we are out of the geo-political game for a bit. Then the Russians can do whatever they want on the world stage.
The most effective way for the Russians to exploit Americans is on the issue of race. Once they start, we are more than willing to hate each other based upon race. We make assumptions about each other, blame each other, and hate each other, or at least think the other inferior, or worse inhuman. I believe that the greatest threat to United States national security is racism, structural, active, and subtle.
As well, the greatest threat to the Gospel in the United States, and the world, is racism. The idea is this, as we hate each other because of race, we are not loving each other. When we are not loving each other, the Devil can spread hate all over the world, and point to us as the chief culprit.
The reading from Revelation today is repugnant to a racist. We have all these people standing in heaven, from different nations, races, peoples, and tongues, or languages. They are all wearing the same white robes for purity. They are all holding the same palm branches for victory. They are all standing with the same Lamb of God as their Shepherd. They are all martyrs who have all been baptized in the same “blood of the Lamb.” They all have the same God. They stand in the same vision of heaven. They are the same as they will be when Jesus comes again and the new heaven and new earth are complete.
We believe in the resurrection of the dead. That means we believe that our bodies will be renewed like Jesus’ body was renewed. He didn’t stop looking like a Jew. We will not stop looking like we do. We will still have our scars from this life, but our bodies will be renewed and rejoined with our souls and spirits. The Earth itself will be renewed and neither us nor the Earth will be subject to decay or death. As well, evil will not exist.
We know this is true because it has been revealed to us by God. He made many skin colors. He made many body types. Because we believe that in the beginning God (pause), we believe his plan is best. Because he made people of many colors, with many colors of hair, many colors of eyes, etc., we know that they are inherently good. They are good because from the Garden of Eden they are the result of “be fruitful and multiply.” As evolution adapted humanity to live in many different environs, we know that these are good adaptations.
If you recall, when Adam and Eve were in the Garden, as the story goes, the Lord told them what was good. The original sin is that they decided what God told them was not good. The original sin is the breaking of the First Commandment: you shall have no other gods but the Lord God, the one who created all this before we made it into a mess. To say that someone God has created is inhuman or defective is to go against what he said in Genesis 1 after he created all things. He said, “Very good.” Even a person in the deepest sin, in the most disordered and dysfunctional life, in the most repugnant of situations to us, even those people are considered very good, worthy of the deepest love, because the Lord God made them. To deny it is to deny God’s creative work. To deny God’s creative work is to deny God.
Earlier I said, “When the new heaven and new earth are complete.” I didn’t say, “When they are made.” That is because we believe that we are co-creators with God. We are in his image and likeness. We are amazing creatures, like no other. We dominate, even to our own destruction, through our amazing intellect and will. The positives of these qualities are part of what it means to be “in the image and likeness of God.”
As co-creators, our churches, as people and as buildings, are supposed to be foretastes of the new heaven and new earth that will be. Our churches, as people and as buildings, are supposed to be versions of Revelation 7 in the pews. They are not supposed to take all the tendencies of the culture, which make building the church easy, and set up a temple to human prejudice. Churches are supposed to be places where we appreciate the different colors. Churches are supposed to be places where we are examples to the world how hospitality is practiced, love is lived out, and where false boundaries that are of the “did God really say” variety are left behind.
Where we put our churches in our communities geographically, the breadth and depth of music we use to worship, the visuals of the nave and its sanctuary, the colors of the people in the pews, the food we share, the way we think, and the guiding principles of our lives should conform to this picture from Revelation. These are people whose sole focus is to live the Gospel life, following Jesus in faithful adherence to the Commandments, and with a willingness to die for Jesus Christ as he was willing to die for us.
We are to put love of neighbor above country, state, city, town, or neighborhood. When our schools, our shopping centers, and our neighborhoods do not represent this vision of heaven, then we have some very hard questions to ask ourselves. It is up to us and no other to build the City of God. It is our mission to do all we can, when we can, with whomever we can, wherever we can to have this kind of community: people of all nations, races, peoples, and tongues worshiping God together in one place and willing to die for his cause.
We must not give the Devil an easy tool to divide us. Revelation 7 is the vision of Pentecost. It is the vision of Heaven. [I must be our vision.] [It must be the vision for The Church of Saint Raphael the Archangel.] So, say ‘yes.’ Say ‘yes’ to God. Say ‘yes’ to this vision. Say ‘yes’ and do what he calls you to do to make it a reality. Amen.
This audio is under the copyright of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated and may not be used, reduplicated, or distributed for commercial use without the express written consent of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated. My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated, 2019.
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Mark Kurowski, M.Div.
Spiritual Director, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Theologian