Monday, November 24, 2014

Storm Shelter

Sometimes, the lectionary just *nails it*.
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.'

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?'
 And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'  (
Matthew 25:34-40)

 It's time.

 Just as churches and charities open up as shelters for natural disasters, it is equally our right and bounden duty to be a shelter for more man-made calamities. This post has been sitting here, half-written for two days, as I tried to frame what it should mean to be a church and a people who live out the principles in this passage. To be a home for the hopeless, a safe space among the chaos of the world, where one can find food, water, care, and a helping hand in the midst of everything coming apart.I just received word that the grand jury decision has been made, and the announcement of what it is will be soon. St. John's is a designated sanctuary, with supplies and professionals in place to help with the physical and mental needs of the protesters and the community surrounding us. It's all hands on deck time, the waiting is almost over.

My city, my people, the Lord is always with us. Therefore, let us pray.

Lord, make us instruments of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Storm coming in.

This is going to be a post in two parts.

One of the things about growing up in the Midwest is that you learn about the faces of storms. The patterns of sky, the taste of wind, the colors of clouds tell us if this is a storm to play in or to take shelter from. As the line comes towards us, how bad is it going to be?

These last couple of weeks have felt like the leading edge of the storm is looming at the horizon. The clouds of the indictment decision for Darren Wilson are black and heavy, with the tinge of olive that means this storm could go from bad to deadly. What will happen when the grand jury rules?

The first spits of rain are happening. This week: declaration of the State of Emergency and the doxxing of policemen, some of whom are just trying to do their job. This week in Ferguson, arrests of media, legal, & clergy. The brief spots of struggling light, too: open churches, prayer vigils, the appointment of the Ferguson Commission.

In some ways, we've been waiting for this to break for 105 days. But really, it's only been imminent since the election. And that looming imminence is wearing. The city and county are holding our collective breath, waiting. Praying. Praying for justice, for an end to injustice. Praying that the looming storm will dissipate. The anger and hopelessness against an unjust system will still be there, but without the destructive nature of riots. Without the destruction of the flood. That would be best, that the fuel of the movement find a different channel to effect change, because the storm goes. It often happens that way in St. Louis, that something furious and murderous...gentles into the power to create the different world we desperately need. But right now, we're preparing for the storm. If it breaks, this is going to be one to shelter from...