Monday, April 25, 2011

Spirit Power & Infinite Hope: Easter and the Ghost Dance

For a sermon at Pyramid Lake a text would not work, so this is just an outline. It comes from something I learned from a Bible Study for Community Organizing -- how to do a power analysis of a Scriptural text. In this sermon I portrayed the drama of Holy Week, enacted around the world for millennia, as a ritual unmasking of the power struggle that goes on perpetually in world affairs, in history, and in our daily lives – the struggle between two kinds of power: Dominating Power which conquers, dominates, and ultimately kills vs. Spirit Power (or relational power) which empowers, enlivens, creates, and gives birth.
Two examples of Spirit Power – the life of Jesus “anointed with the Spirit and with Power” who promised that “the Holy Spirit would descend upon us and we would receive Power” and the Ghost Dance of Wovoka.
In Holy Week, Domination Power thought it had won, when it had done all it can do – kill. But Spirit power gives life and is the source of what Dr. King called “infinite hope.”
Easter 1 – 2011
The Resurrection is about Power
There are 2 kinds of power:
Dominating power –
The one who exercises DP takes power from another Ex: governments, bullies, empires
In NT, that would be Rome.
DP is sterile
Spiritual power – relational power
It is energy – it is the power to empower
Power to heal, power to reconcile, power to give hope
In, NT that would be Jesus – look how he used power
Spiritual Power is fertile

Domination power is afraid of relational power
because relational power cannot be dominated
Wovoka and the Ghost Dance
Jesus and the Cross

Holy Week is about relational power going head to head with dominating power
Having loved his own
Washing of the feet
Going to the Cross
Forgiving from the Cross
Dominating power thinks it has won when it has killed

The Resurrection is the victory of Relational Power
n Not the power to kill but the power to give life.
n HS came upon Jesus and restored his life – that’s power.
n The Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will receive power
That’s what it means to be raised with Christ.

To be a Christian is not to believe a story – but to live in the power of the story
To reject the dominating power in 2 ways:
1. Not to exercise it
2. Not to submit to it
To live into Relational Power
How do we live into Relational Power today?
Poverty – how do we come together to help each other support our families?
War – how do we come together to make peace in a world at war?
How do we overcome racial and religious prejudice that divides us?
Addiction – how do we come together to support people
who want to be free from the bonds of addiction?
Family violence and conflict – how do we find the love to heal the wounds
in our most important relationships?

This is the Holy Week we live every week – our struggle.
There will be Good Fridays.
MLK: “In this world we must accept finite disappointments;
but we must never lose infinite hope.”
Even death is a finite disappointment.
Our infinite hope is in the spiritual power of God.