Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dear Leah: A God on Broadway Sermon (Wicked)

The Text from Broadway: “I'm Not That Girl” from the Broadway musical Wicked.

There's a girl I know, he loves her so....I'm not that girl...

The Text from Scripture:  Genesis 29

So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah...
Audio Recording of Scripture & Sermon can be found here.

Dear Leah, 

Because our stories are all alike, and a little bit different, I wonder:  

Growing up, did you and Rachel argue over what beauty means?  Did she wield her good looks like a weapon?  Did she taunt you for your bad eyes?   What did you think, when your cousin Jacob came to town?  When he noticed your sister – like everyone did – and you remained unseen?

All those seven years as Jacob worked – did you know what your father had up his sleeve?  Did you try to talk him out of it?  Or did you embrace it as an escape, your last, best, chance for finding a partner, for leaving a difficult home?  

At the altar, how did you feel?  Were you sick inside?  Were you silently grateful?  And on your wedding night, in the darkness of the tent, knowing that your husband imagined he was touching someone else?   Were you able to weep then, or did you hold off until the morning, when a portion of the truth was revealed?   Over the days of the honeymoon, did you hope you could come to terms with one another?   For the next seven years, how did you hold the pieces of your broken heart together, seeing him work day after day for the love of another?

If we could sit down over a cup of tea, I would ask you these things, and seek to learn from your strength.  And then, when you were done saying the things that needed to be said, I would share what I have with you…

Dearest Leah, I want you to know this: you are loved. You are loved in your loneliness and your invisibility. You are loved, with your weak eyes. You are loved, despite the veil that has been thrown over you to silence you and deceive, attempting to make you something you are not.  

You are loved. Deeply. I can tell you this holy truth – because this is the way God loves.  This is who, and how, and when God loves:  those who feel unloved. Those who are pushed to the margins.  Those who are ignored, discriminated against, wounded body and soul – these are the ones that God provides for. Despite all outward appearances, these are the ones for whom God moves heaven and earth.

It may be the case that the complicated relationships that brought you to this place cannot be mended. That they cannot be hold the form that you so deeply long for.  If that is the case, I pray that there may be healing, Leah.  I pray that your tired eyes, bathed by tears, might open to a new tomorrow.  I pray that this terrible hole in your heart might be filled.

I pray that the Holy One who pours her discriminatory blessing out on the poor, the wounded, the marginalized, the persecuted and those who mourn, will make clear the blessing she is about to pour out on you, the blessing she is already preparing for you.  I pray that God’s lovingkindness may shine on you in your dreams, and in your waking; that Wisdom will embrace you and give you cause to praise.

So much brokenness in the human family; so much dysfunction.  And yet, this story does not end with brokenness.  God’s story always ends as it began, with the giving of life and the celebration of fruitfulness, and a time of blessed rest. In the end, Rachel was buried by the roadside as they traveled, but Leah rested with the matriarchs and patriarchs. 
Jacob ordered them, “I am soon to join my people.  Bury me with my ancestors…in the cave that’s in the field of Machpelah near Mamre in the land of Canaan that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial property.  That is where Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried, and where Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried, and where I buried Leah….After he finished giving orders to his sons, he put his feet up on the bed, took his last breath, and joined his people. Genesis 49:29-33
Dearest Leah, beloved child of God.  You were born for so much more than this ache inside you. What you are able to see today is not all there is.  Hear this word of blessing, and let it bathe the wounds you carry:  you have not been, nor will you be, abandoned.   Jacob may not have chosen you, but you are one God chooses.  God is even now doing a new thing. There will yet be a time of joy, and praise.

Amen?  Amen.

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