Thursday, April 20, 2017

racism, gun violence and poverty

Dear friends,

I am here in Chicago attending the Bishops United Against Gun Violence Conference that is titled: "The Unholy Trinity:  Racism, Gun Violence and Poverty," and we are gathered to pray, study scriptures, learn, witness and strengthen each other as we explore the intersection of these three ideas and how they keep us far from realizing God's dream of wholeness for us and for our world.

We are resurrection people and this is good and holy work, made all the richer in the bright light of Easter as we are filled with the hope of the empty tomb.

Today we gathered in prayer, joined in small groups to study and connect with a passage from 2 Kings which contained both  horrific violence and God's promise of a new day, enjoyed the fellowship of a good meal together and then heard, briefly, from a young man, Diamonte, whose life was changed 3 years ago when he was shot 5 times while playing on a Chicago playground. He has turned to speaking to groups about his experience as part of his healing process.  He will graduate from High School in June.  The facilitator for our scripture studies while we are here is Dora Mbuwaysango who is an Old Testament Scholar and professor at Hood College in MD.

Tomorrow we'll have our "three-note" speakers on Racism, Gun Violence and Poverty, (The Rev. Canon Kelly Brown Douglas, Julian DeShazier and Natalie Moore), a facilitated response moderated by The Rev. Gay Jennings, we will make a public witness in the streets and wrap it all in prayer and more scripture study.

More as the conference unfolds... or when I get home.

Grateful to be here with The Rev. Rebecca Myers of Newport, PA and Ms. Shayna Watson of Lancaster, PA.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Thursday, April 6, 2017

small world

When things begin to seem unmanageable in the big world-

When structures built to protect our weakest begin to crumble-
                        affordable healthcare
                        immigration agencies
                        regulations protecting our natural resources
When nuclear bomb testing in North Korea becomes a monthly event,

When women by the million need don knitted caps in intimate pink
                        to claim their voice,

When another suicide bombing barely captures the attention
 of our press because the numbers  of life lost were not
 by the dozen,

And when civil war turns to chemical warfare killing women, children and
           men overcome by evil gases…

When all of this happens,

I post pictures of smoothies
                           and pasta,
                           and chickpeas swimming in curried broth.

I pray.
I meditate.
I beg God’s mercy and compassion on those who are victims.

And then I capture just the right angle on tonight’s vegan dinner-
 a Lenten fast without chicken, steak, bacon or trout,
 no yogurt, cheese or butter.

The very idea that loading up on rice and beans instead of 
               meat will change me, somehow.

Nearing the end of these forty days, I am disappointed-
                seeing, now, that my kitchen is a very small world
      and that God calls me to step away from the stove
      and into the place that is (in the words of Thomas Hardy) 
madding.  Just madding.

The call to discipleship-
            sharing the love of Jesus and the Good News of resurrection
  demands change, risk, and traveling to places that are
 out of our comfort zone.

But discipleship also guarantees community.

We are not asked to go it alone.

And even disciples need to eat.

Gathering at table, Jesus told them:
 “Take, eat, this is my body.”
 “Drink this, all of you. “

Jesus didn’t eat alone. Or snap photos for his Facebook friends of tonight’s supper.

He ate. He drank. He talked. He taught. He listened. In community. 
           With the Holy Spirit swirling all around, like a nervous busboy 
                     keeping up with the pace of the meal.

May we be drawn out of our small worlds
into this big one-

            to care for each other,
  to be One in Him,
  and to know that resurrection hope is the main dish,
with enough in the bowl to feed the world.