https://giftsinopenhands.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/christmas-eve-at-the-epsom-circle-mcdonalds/

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Waffle Church!

November 9, 2016

On a lighter note, St Lydia’s Church in Brooklyn is trying waffle church.

eastern-coyote_si

 

Here’s a fragment from today’s work on a book about Holy Communion:

To what can we compare the Beloved Community of God? It is like an animal of the forest. It comes of its own accord. We cannot make it appear, and no amount of beating the bushes will flush it out. All we can do is prepare the optimal conditions: bringing what we have to share, risking vulnerability to the other, opening ourselves to the Spirit. If we are patient, and keep coming back, the creature may come near: standing silently at the edge of the firelight, bringing an awe-inspiring glimpse of a different world, joining our gathering just out of reach. Even then, we cannot capture the creature and display it whenever we want. There are no sacred words or gestures that will command it to return. All we can do is keep returning to prepare, keep doing our part, knowing that this beautiful, unpredictable creature is out there, somewhere beyond the first line of trees. In this way it is the creature who trains us for communion.

 

photo: outsideonline.com

Yet another mass shooting.

I have prayed.  On my own and in the seminary chapel.  Here’s what I keep asking myself as I read all the “enough is enough” articles and posts: am I sad and angry enough to be committed?  Am I willing to spend hours campaigning against any congresspeople who vote against gun reform until they are driven from the halls of congress?  Am I willing to contribute more of my own money to the organizations who are going head-to-head with corporate lobbyists and the nearly $30M  that the NRA contributes to political campaigns?  Am I willing to wade into the public discourse – blogs, and Facebook, and letters to the editor – and expose myself and my family to the rhetoric and threats that others who speak up have experienced?  Am I willing to recruit others to get involved, to call and write their legislators regularly?  How upset am I, really?

#letpeacebeginwithme #nobastarezad

Check out Naomi Shihab Nye’s short story about her experience of community forming across boundaries at an airport gate in Albuquerque.  She understands that there is something sacramental about sharing food with people who had been “other” just moments before.  What struck me as I read the story is that the situation she describes wasn’t just like a sacrament, it was the kind of startling, numinous experience of community and sharing that lies at the heart of Jesus’ ministry of meals. It may be that the moment in the airport she describes was actually more sacramental that many of our eucharistic rites.

naomi_shihab_nye

 

http://davidkanigan.com/2014/11/16/gate-a-4/

Pete from FlickrI wonder: could phone trees, organized so that volunteers quickly call the precinct where people of color are being held, reduce the incidence of people dying in police custody in this country? Could enough calls from people identifying their locations around the country, saying, “We’re watching,” or simply asking the police to confirm that a particular person is being held there, make a difference?

In an essay on torture and eucharist, Rebecca Gordon, author of Mainstreaming Torture writes:

“Some time during the early 1990’s in San Francisco, California, I attended the speech of a Salvadoran trade unionist. I have forgotten her last name, but her given name I remember well: Gloria.

“Gloria’s purpose that evening was to inform her audience about the situation in El Salvador of union members like herself. By way of illustration, she related the story of her own capture and torture by the notorious Salvadoran Treasury Police. She told us that it was only the pressure of phone calls and letters from la solidaridad internacional — international solidarity — that had finally forced the police to set her free. As Gloria spoke, I began to shiver. I remembered that I had heard – and spoken – her name before. I realized that I myself had made some of those calls.

“In the late 1980’s my friend Sharon Martinas organized an informal phone tree among her Spanish-speaking friends, so that when news of police kidnappings reached her from El Salvador, we might telephone the appropriate police force or military service (El Salvador had several) and demand the victim’s release. Sharon would keep us updated about what was known of the victim’s whereabouts and supply us with the relevant telephone numbers. I remembered my phone calls to the Treasury Police, remembered insisting that we knew they had her, that she had been seen in the prison at Ilopango, which they controlled.

“As Gloria told her story, I was seized with a sort of retrospective terror. What if we had failed to make those calls? What if we had been too busy in the days of her capture to add our voice to those of others demanding her reappearance? What if the press of life, or my own laziness, had kept me from participation in the body of la solidaridad internacional?

“Still, there she was in front of me, alive. My heart was lifted up to encounter in the flesh a woman whose body the little community organized through Sharon’s phone tree had helped to save from torture.”

At the heart of Holy Communion is the reality that we are bound together with God and each other, regardless of jail cells and prison walls. I wonder about the possibilities. And then I remember that hymn:

In prison cell and dungeon vile
our hearts to them are winging
when friends by shame are undefiled
how can I keep from singing?

Compassion

July 15, 2015

How about I just put this here so that I can come back and watch it once a month – or once a week?  Once a day?

What if I could refuse to allow the brutality of my enemy to rob me of compassion for my enemy?  Is that even possible?

What if the power of Holy Communion is not in its ability to somehow conquer death or make me part of a select group?  What if, instead, its power lies in the possibility that, when done well, it is able to nurture compassion and connection across boundaries, re-awakening us to the deep Communion that is at the heart of the universe (and, I would say, the ministry of Jesus)?