October 19, 2003

Dave Ortis - “Power and Powerlessness”

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David Ortis contrasted the absolute 'power' of a king with the story of Jesus asking us to be like powerless children. David began with 2Sam 1 in which King David, upon learning that King Saul had been killed by a soldier, commanded that this messenger/soldier be killed (he possibly expected a large reward for having killed David's sworn enemy). This is a story about absolute power, about using force to achieve a goal, about a man usurping God's authority over life and death. (Ultimately, King David, Israel's most powerful ruler, was not allowed to build the temple because he had shed too much blood-used power excessively and incorrectly.) David Ortis then took us to Mark 10, in which Jesus was embroiled in a fierce debate about divorce (how much power does a husband have over his wife, including the being the sole authority to have the power to break the marriage and its economic agreement). During this crucial and timely theological discussion, children suddenly ran in and interrupted everything. The adults wanted to assert their power, their authority and return everything to an adult's world, but Jesus seized the opportunity to use children as a counterpoint to the male-powered debate on divorce and declared that unless you become like a little child (powerless and trusting), you cannot join the Kingdom-that unless the men debating divorce were willing to give up their traditional power in marriage, they would not discover a good answer to the divorce question. David challenged us to reflect on power in our lives (jobs, financial security, middle class), on how we use power, on what we would be like if power were suddenly taken away from us. It is not easy to climb down the hierarchy of power (e.g., be jobless at age 50 or suddenly have no option but to work for $10/hr). He ended by creating a sword from two sticks, noting that there is no such thing as a peaceful sword, but that its power comes from his arm. Then he inverted the sword to make a cross, noting that the power of the cross comes from elsewhere, not from us. [JEK]


Passage: Ephesians 3
Communion: No
Ecumenical or Event:
Potluck Lunch: No
Congregational Meeting: No


Speaker: Dave Ortis
Worship Leader: Rosie Perera
Song Leader: Sue Greenstreet
Pianist: Heather Pauls
Zoom Coordinator:
Children's Feature Leader:


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