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Following Jesus: The Call to Confront Oppression Anywhere and Everywhere

This week at UKirk, rather than do our typical dinner-then-worship routine, we combined them for a night of dinner liturgy. We moved through the elements of worship as we ate our great meal provided by Woodland Presbyterian Church. We confessed our sins over chili, had a longer passing of the peace, and talked about what the golden rule might mean in our context. We highlighted the recent ending to the months long worship service held by a Dutch church in order to protect members of their community from deportation.

Then we moved into a conversation led by our friend Lyndsey Godwin about oppression... what is it, what it means, and what Jesus might have to say about it. We all got a little uncomfortable thinking about the way it shows up in the Bible. One of the stories we talked about was Matthew's version of Jesus feeding the crowd. In this story, the disciples say that they should send the crowd away so that they can buy food for themselves, but Jesus responds that they ought to give the crowd something to eat. We talked about the assumption that the disciples had that the people in the crowd could afford to buy themselves food and how Jesus responded to the disciples with compassion rather than admonishment. We took this as a reminder that Jesus cared very much about bodies, our material needs, and how that informs how we take care of bodies.

As we've focused on worship this year, we've tried to continually focus on the ways worship can shape our lives for the better, and we're so grateful to Lyndsey for showing us how worship should shape us to follow Jesus in confronting the oppressions we see in our everyday lives, or as we remind each other during our unison confession of sin: We say, sing, or embody these prayers as individuals, to admit or “confess” our personal faults; we also say these prayers together, out loud, in “unison”, to confess that our own sins contribute to wider social or systemic sin, like racism and sexism, and all other “isms”.

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