Brothers Keeper (The Easter Rising)

 

Happy Easter Everyone!!!

Today’s initial blog post will just be a song by one of my favorite bands Sleeping Giant. This Easter I think we should all (who believe in the prophetic witness of Jesus) think about the movement of love and justice today. We must celebrate and shout Alleluia as we are not abandoned and our savior lives, but more so than that its because He (Jesus) wanted us to end oppression, He wanted us to provide space for “others” to be welcome to the table of Eucharist and He wanted us to defy systems that militate against his teachings. “We pray with our eyes open, so we can see the victims of injustice” Tommy Green of Sleeping Giant once said. We need to see the victims of injustice, that’s why The Easter Rising matters to me. We have to end racism, sexism, homophobia, queerphobia, transphobia, ageism, homelessness, ableism, stigma on mental illlness, apathy toward the victims of the PIC (Prison Industrial Complex) we the body and blood of Christ, our the answer, not your government though we work together and collaborate, when justice knocks its the church that can immediately be aid in a time of need. I’m committed to this Jesus, all other Jesus understanding is feel good apathetic energy…I praise because their is a battery and eternal significance to my actions, I praise because when this world crushes me and you, there is a table presented to refuel and get back to the work. This movement is not dead, because He is not dead. I also acknowledge that we can not always be protesting, we need to dance and share a drink or three too, I’m saying I don’t believe Easter is just about individual salvation, that’s something else. I’m saying Easter matters because there is an eternal promise that We Have Overcome, because HE Jesus has overcome the world.

That’s why this song speaks to mortality and that our movement is not dead, because Jesus is not dead, He is risen…Hold Fast!!!

Brothers Keeper (The Easter Rising) by Sleeping Giant

We are armed insurrection
We’ve only begun.
We are genesis to revelation.
We the rising tide.

Reformation
Revival
Come and See.
You can kill one man but
I guess you don’t see
the million other men who stand
waiting behind me.

“I solemnly swear to tell the whole truth.”

Testify To the resurrection
Defend The Cross.
We are the ground swell.
We are the mob rule.
We the rising ride.

Reformation
Revival
Come Join with Me.

You can kill one man but
I guess you don’t see
the million other men who stand.
Waiting behind me.

If they shut me up who’ll take my place?
Who’s gonna testify.
If they end my life will you finish the race.
Why’re you gonna live and die.
Who’ll speak.
Testify to the Easter Rising.
I will Testify.
The Easter Rising.
I will give my life.
The Easter Rising

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Maundy Thursday: Jesus Washes His Disciples Feet

Maundy Thursday:

Jesus Washes His Disciples Feet

 

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.  Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you? ”he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:1-15

 

My favorite day of Holy Week is today, Maundy Thursday. I did not always have a great appreciation for this day. A few years ago I started to attend an Episcopal Church with a dynamic outreach model. I was humbled to think there was a church with a concern for the homeless and vulnerable that I could vibe with. One Thursday I was invited to attend Maundy Thursday service. This would be the service where the congregation would take turns washing each others feet. I had heard of this practice before, but had never seen it in action. Funny how as a christian I have a belief in Jesus, or that Jesus does an act and I still don’t follow it, interesting. I went to this service and was in awe. Honestly, this service solidified me as an Episcopalian. Moreover, it was the fact that I saw not only congregants and wealthier, cleaner members of the church washing their partners or friends feet, but I saw congregants washing the feet of the homeless, the vulnerable, those that were in need of love and support, and in return those same individuals washed the feet of those of the congregation. I was humbled by this, brought to tears. I realized then in that moment that the table of Eucharist was for all, even during holy week, especially during holy week.

I close with this, this day March 24th, let’s think about the humility of Jesus, he did not ignore or shun or cast out the “other” he stood with them, and washed them and inspired them. We in this fast of #EmbodiedSolidarity have been demonstrating that not only my christian brothers and sisters feet should I wash, but my Muslim and Hindu and Buddhist and Jewish and even Atheist friends in the human community. In addition that I should offer my mind, body and soul to understanding my neighbor and their struggles. As we walk and stand for justice for the “least of these” let us remember that, we are equal and we are called to struggle, soldarity and love. To God be the glory, Amen.

Dear God of all creation we thank you for this opportunity to hold up our brothers and sisters who are in need and who are being persecuted, we stand in solidarity with their struggle and commit to washing their feet and being humble to allow them to wash ours. In this we embody solidarity, in this we see #TrueReconciliation, have interfaith collaboration and restoration. I thank you because your divine love and revolutionary grace, brings me to this and to the highways and byways. We thank you all knowing, all loving, all accepting, all believing God of creation. Amen.

 

Bio: I am a seminarian in New York Theological Seminary studying Liberation Theology and Queer Theology. I intern and volunteer at the Micah Institute and Ecclesia Ministries. I have been involved in homeless outreach and solidarity with the poor since 2005. After discovering the radical Jesus on the streets of NYC through a storefront church called Underground Church NYC (RIP) that reached out to the Bowery area near CBBG”s (RIP) and the parks. Being heavily inspired by the Simple Way community in North Philly (Shane Claiborne) and the writings of Tony Campolo, my best friend and I lived in intentional community with our friends on the street in an abandoned squat in Williamsburg, Bk. The house provided alternatives to the shelter system and the often overwhelmed environment of social work agencies. There was a doc about it www.ourhousethefilm.com (like $4 on Amazon Prime) all proceeds go to local initiatives to fight poverty and homelessness. I live in Asbury Park, NJ with my best friend, his partner their son.

 

Good Friday: Not Good For Everyone

  
(Because folks still can’t breathe) 

Happy Good Friday Everyone,

Today is the day that symbolically illustrates and remembers the seizing of Jesus the Palestinian Jew from Nazareth. Jesus was inspiring and encouraging a mostly illiterate group of folks, who were being sold into slavery, kidnapped, forced into slave labor at the hands and view of the temple leaders (see Obery M. Hendricks, The Politics of Jesus). He was teaching them to understand “that you are born free, you are born in the image of the father (mother) God and that you don’t need these hierarchical structures and unequal relationships to Jerusalem, you are whole and loved where you are.” (jp version)
From that stance he led a love revolution that defied and called out the Roman Empire an empire that the Christian church later would side with for favors, just like the temple leaders did. But, that’s not the whole message, even knowing these things and being wrongfully convicted, being a man charged for crimes he did not commit and still allowing the persecution to happen, or if you believe in a lower christology. He was accosted and arrested just like our black, brown and beige brothers and sisters are today. You see on Good Friday we see this salvific offering that cleanses us from sin and the idea that the Trinity took on pain, but more so, was this idea that our leader if your a Christian or follower of Jesus, resisted oppression and imperial power to the point of death.
Good Friday has always meant a good time, (meaning people were happy because of the resurrection and kids because of chocolate and the Easter bunny) but Saturday was silent, and Sunday at the crack of dawn we will have our candles and Jesus will not be in the tomb, Mary will run back and tell her friends, Peter will find out and tell his friends, he’s not their! Because he is risen!
Today, we don’t see Eric Garner risen, we don’t see Emmett Till risen, we don’t see Sandra Bland risen, we don’t see countless others risen, we don’t even see those we love and hold dear that are not a part of police brutality risen, but we believe as a body in the sacredness of scripture that our King rose!!! But, he did not rise for us to be capitalist, he did not rise for us to be prideful and selfish, he did not rise for us to be individualist, or misogynist and racist, sexist, no he rose to show us death has no hold on justice, death has no hold on solidarity, death has no hold on the community forged through struggle, and yes there was/is a salvation from sin narrative. But what is sin today?
I/We need salvation for our community, I/We need salvation for our family, I/We need salvation for the PIC (Prison Industrial Complex) to end, I/We need salvation for a country bent on the verge of fascism and all out civil war. I/We need salvation from police brutality and modern day lynching. I/We need salvation for women, to be able “to walk alone at night and fear nothing” (chalkline, strike anywhere). I/We need salvation for…
Jesus did not die and resurrect on Sunday for you to be happy and content, he rose so you would have courage to face injustice and though they might harm your body, they can not harm your soul! 
  
(Because Black Lives Still Matter)

Let us remember those that are still on the cross in need of justice behind prison walls and in our community. To God Be the Glory, Let Your Justice Flow!!! Amen.
Images from last years Holy Week of Resistance week of actions against white supremacy and police brutality 

Happy Palm Sunday

Today’s blog is jus some lyrics from one of my all time favorite bands. This band is by far one of the most respected bands in heisting hardcore and now metal as a whole. The band is called August Burns Red their singer Jake Luhrs vocals and message have changed my life over and over again. It’s bands like this that are responsible for me being in seminary, his words and life are a testament to the real Jesus, the one that became low to reach us. The Jesus that defied sexism and racism a Jesus that no matter where you have been and what you have done you are still swallowed in an abundance of grace. You are abundantly well loved. I have been dealing with some very hard situation in my life and this song on this Palm Sunday reminded me that I love Jesus so much, I love God (the God of my understanding) and that if this God and friends had not come to my side all those years ago. I may not be here today. So below is this song called Redemption by Agist Burns Red enjoy. Lastly, if you like what you hear and read (gonna post the lyrics too :-)) please check out HeartSupport.Com and their Restore program. Love ❤️ JP

Redemption by August Burns Red from the album Messengers

I trust in you for life to live, and air to breath. Purity fills my lungs. I no longer live in solitude. No longer bound. My heart beats with great devotion. This is the start to a new beginning. On my knees praying for mercy. Hands raised high, humble and broken. Wanting your grace. Wanting your security. Memories of laying face down, motionless, with such a hollow feeling inside. Soon I would end this life I was living. I am just a man with a heart and sinful hands. I am a fallen victim. Lord, show me the way. I ask of you Father, let my words be your words. Let my thoughts be your thoughts. To you, I give my praise. Show me the way. Take me in your arms. Never let me go. Lord, show me the way, as I give myself to you. Never let me go. Hold me with your everlasting love. Be my strength.Be my voice. Be my glory.

Set me free.

#AugustBurnsRed #Redemption #Messengers #HeartSupport #JakeLuhrs #PalmSunday #Hardcore #Salvation #Acceptance #NewLife