Today’s gospel has a powerful closing line. “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” It’s a pretty demanding statement; one that unsettles me. Maybe I cower because it’s uncomfortable, or because I’m more comfortable hiding. When we scatter, I can hide within myself. I imagine Jesus saying these words to me, revealing my hiding place. At first glance, sure, I seek to be Christ-like. And then I look at patterns in my life and wonder, am I all in or all about myself?
Last year, Cole Arthur Riley, creator of Black Liturgies and author of This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us offered a beautiful Lenten prayer. These words stay with me. “…we so often reduce salvation to the personal; let ours be a salvation tethered to the liberation of the world.” These 40 days of Lent prepare our hearts for Jesus’ death & resurrection. It is a time of recentering ourselves with God and one another; to commit to our collective salvation from the chaos of our collective sin.
I think this is what Jesus meant in his message to the crowds. Whoever is not with me is against me. Silence (hiding) is complicity. We are not called to tolerate or accept, but rather to celebrate every identity God so intentionally created. Not equality, but equity. Don’t be a “voice for the voiceless;” choose to listen to the voices we’ve silenced.
Whoever does not gather with me scatters. Gather communities to build relationships. Gather our voices and vote. Gather around a table that has a seat for every person. Gather to grieve and atone for our history of oppression. Gather to co-create.
Today’s psalm is “If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.” This repeats Jesus’ invitation to be with him. To gather. To Love. Liberating love.
- Where do you hide? Why do you hide?
- How is Jesus calling you to liberating love?
Elise Gower is drawn to the art of sacred storytelling. She is committed to individual and collective antiracism work and fostering connections between spirituality and LGBTQ+ identity.