Thursday, December 17, 2015

Are we really all Muslim? Day 5 Christmas Devotional . . .

This is Day 5 of a devotional series called "The Twelve Days of Christmas."  The point today for the devotional just happened to be echoed in the news event of Michael Moore today.  If you would like to receive the rest of the devotionals in your inbox just enter your email above . . .

Michael Moore is crusading again.  This time in from of Trump Tower in New York City.  He is holding a sign that says, “we are all Muslim” in reaction to Donald Trump’s ideas about how to keep the US safe in a world of terror.

Are we really all Muslim?  Catholic?  Jewish?  This is at the core of what Christmas is all about.

After holding a sign there for a while he was asked to leave.  He left and went home to write an open letter to Donald Trump.  Moore delves more deeply into his thoughts in the letter, including how he was:
“raised to believe that we are all each other's brother and sister, regardless of race, creed or color. That means if you want to ban Muslims, you are first going to have to ban me. And everyone else.  We are all Muslim.  Just as we are all Mexican, we are all Catholic and Jewish and white and black and every shade in between.”
Of course the idea of sticking by people that are being unfairly treated is remarkable.  The problem is with the statement, “We Are All Muslim.”  No we are not.  We are all human.  Period.  And regardless of what labels we add to ourselves, unless we start with that fact we will have a very hard time understanding the nature of the problem we have getting along.
You might be asking, “what in the world does this have to do with Christmas?”
Think about it.  Magi come from Arabia or Persia – from a cult that worships astral deities and looks to astrology for answers.  Shepherds (seen by most as lower on the pole of society) leave their fields behind.  Mary and Joseph are so poor that they can’t even afford the usual sacrifice for the baby Jesus right after His birth.  Foreigners, ‘lowlifes’ and the poor – all central characters in the drama of Christmas.  God Himself picks a somewhat insignificant clan from a socially and geopolitically insignificant race of people in an obscure corner of the world to birth His Son.  So it seems like God knows the poor and the powerless very well – going so far as to purposefully choose the marginalized and the forgotten.
But the poor and the powerless are transformed by their relationship to God, not to each other.  It is the journey to Jesus that changes who the Magi are, not their solidarity with other Persians. They are no longer aliens but citizens.  Mary and Joseph are no longer poor but overflowing with the assurance of God’s presence.  The Shepherds are no longer ‘lowlifes’ – but lives changed by the very child they are going to visit.
So no, we are not Muslims.  We are not Christians.  We are not Syrians.  We are not White or Hispanic.  We are not gay or transgendered.
We are human.  We are loved by God. 
Christmas is a story of journeys – people who leave homelands, childhoods, occupations for a time to spend it in the presence of God – touched by the common thread of their humanity . . . and the assurance of being loved.
Christmas reminds us that the only way to be fully human and to realize we are deeply loved is to journey (one step at a time) to the peace offered to us with God in the person of Jesus.  Being Muslim won’t save us.  Going to Church won’t save us.  Fighting for equality won’t save us.  Even love won’t save us.
Recognizing that we are all human and in need of the love of God in Jesus is the only hope we have.
 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,  to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary.  And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.  And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb 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 the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,  and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Luke 1:26-33

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