Start moving forward
The Rev. Holly McKissick, pastor, Peace Christian Church in Kansas City, Mo., and Overland Park, Kan.: “Go forward,” she kept saying. “Go forward. Then take a left at the light.”
“Which way?” I asked.
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I kept thinking, why doesn’t she just say, straight, go straight.
Forward. If you ask another gay person, you might just get the same thoughtful response. My church member learned this expression when she was coming out of the closet 20 years ago.
Go forward. It was not a put-down to folks who were straight. It was a call to live as she was created to be, to recognize that she was made in God’s image.
That was Jesus’ challenge to the disciples. They were a part of the “inner circle,” but at times they were clueless. Jesus’ words went over their heads. He called them to a new place, but they wanted to cover the same ground.
“Jesus, everyone is looking for you, let’s go back to our old stomping ground; they loved us there.”
Jesus responded, “No, let us go elsewhere, for that is what I came out to do.”
Elsewhere. This is the only place in the New Testament where that word is used. It’s a powerful word, a guiding word. As the saying goes, “if you are not attempting something you’ve never done before, you will never grow.”
If the road looks familiar, chances are good it’s the wrong one.
Is it the right thing?
Rabbi Avi Weinstein, head of Jewish studies, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy: Free choice is axiomatic in Judaism. The choices between right and wrong are usually simple.
The harder decisions are those that seem to be morally neutral, but they still have the potential to wreak havoc with life.
Did I do the right thing? It’s always the right question regardless of what the consequence might be.
This time of year is one of profound reflection for the Jewish faith. Redemption awaits on the other side of the gate, and penitence is the key that opens the hearts to higher purpose.
Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Peshischa, Poland, a great Hasidic master, once said that the definition of humility is to be able to sincerely see yourself as you truly are. Such awareness of strengths and flaws is what we have the potential of knowing, and with this awareness it is possible to know what we are supposed to do with the choices that are presented to us.
It will also help us improve and grow as this season of penitence and atonement requires.
There might be many paths that one may choose, but a true sincere spirit will have God’s approval, and God willing, his support.