Monday, December 19, 2011

Three days of peace, love and music. And crafts. and art. Day 3: Advent4: Let it be.



Getting ready for worship in the balcony. Just like last year. Teddy and DJ Dan helping me.  I look out at the balcony rows, see who’s there. My people, Occupiers, it’s a good congregation. Feels good for this fourth and final Sunday in Advent.  I invite the girls up to light the candles. And we begin. 
Before our prayers we chant Magnificat, magnificat, magnficat anima mea dominum. Hope asks me to soul magnifies the lord, I say. And I ask how our souls magnify, make visible, the Lord, or the Spirit, or what is good and should be. And we lift up our prayers for intercession, including as Occupier Jeff says, the rich who reject community, and someone facing a heart transplant and those facing violence and....we pray.
 The scriptures, Luke 1: 26-38 and Luke 1: 47-58, are the Anunication, the angel telling Mary what will happen,  and the Magnificat, Mary’s song.  I ask what the biggest news of the week was. And of course, it’s the end of the Iraq war.  And we remember trying to hold it back. That we in New York city did not want our grief to be used as an excuse to invade. Dana’s Not in Our Name concert. The Lysistrata Project peformance in the balcony theatre with formerly incarcerated and homeless persons, who knew who would pay for the war, perfomed in the balcony theatre. Protesting across the street from the UN with the Buddhists and getting arestd at the US mission. 
The losses: conservatively over 150,000 Iraqi deaths, including 113,000 civilians. And 4000 US troops dead and more than  31,000 casualties. As we now know,justified by lies.’s over...
This week is the week of Occupy the Pulpit, I recognize our guests and speak of the conflict with Trinity (Wall Street) Episcopal. Classic liberal church and also one of the largest property owners in the Wall Street area. The struggle over thier Duarte Park. The hunger strikers. Even Archbishop Tutu has weighed in.  
And we remember last year onthis Sunday, our friend Rick Ufford-Chase from Stony Point joining us. How he heard about us worshipping in the cold and knew he had to be here with us. And how we spoke of the Church that will be. What we are becoming and already are.  
And finally, Mary’s song....the set up...the angel’s  visit. Just  how is this going to happen?, she wants to know.  
Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" and then 
The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.
(Well,  that certainly explains it..)
I ask if there have been any #OWS pregnancies? Births? Thinking of Mary’s kinswoman ,Elizabeth, we remember our pageants. The competition to be Mary and the year we resolved it by having a Mary and an Elizabeth. And the bottom line, Mary says, Let it be to me according to your word...And we people’s mike that...let it me...according to your word.
Let’s go back...why her?  Becuase of her lowliness? Or because she said yes...did others say no? for how many centuries? What are you being asked to say yes to?
And her tense, the Lord has done...great things for me. Already done. Already accomplished. (Like what, exactly? What great things has the Lord done for you?) She lists them, and I ask especially my Occupier friends to listen. He has:
scattered the proud
brought down the powerful ( Well not yet...Archbishop Tutu in South Africa, long beofre the fall of apartheit, would say, we have alrady One of my occupiers says we walk by faith and not by sight...Because once enough believe it, it is inevitable. It cannot be prevented. It is already real. And in the hearts,  where it most matters, it is already acconplished. I remember the words on the side of the Verizon building that night on the Brooklyn Bridge: Be not afraid. We are winning. 
filled the hungry and...sent the rich away. That’s pretty unambiguous. I remember  Nicaragua,1982, the season of Purisima, of Advent. A street crackers, the priest with loudspeaker on top of his car. A woman reading these words. Then saying how this had happened in her life. The overthrow of Somoza. How she had learned to read and that this was now her song. 
And I finish by saying whether in politics or our individual lives, there comes that moment when you have to say yes, when you have to say Let it be. Just let it be. And of course, Andre sings Let it be...slowly, soulfully And there are amens,and applause, even from the Crafts fair below. 
We sing our Advent doxology (to the tune of O come, O come emmanuel..) and finish with Soon and very soon...
Let it be, to me, according to your word. 
The session meets. Approves two overtures to New York City Presbytery for the next PC(USA) General Assembly. One is affirming the right of a church to open its doors for same gender marraiges in states where it is legal. Along with the right of the pastor to decide according to conscience. The other reaffirms the policy for single payer and possibly divesting from for profit health care businesses.  And we talk about boilers, court cases, Christmas and Three Kings. 
Jane and Jeremy

Down in the chapel, I hear Jane and Sanctuary NYC starting up, the strains of What if God were one of us? A good Christma song...
Peter Galperin
Amanda and Bob
The afternoon lineup begins with Justin Robert James followed by Peter Galperin.  And then  Amnada does a set and then I do one more. And one last time she joins me in harmony. I wanted to record, but the comouter with Garageband has run outof juice. Well, maybe next time. And Piano Dan finishes out the music. 
In between, I’m going around thanking our craftspeople. And shopping. And talking with the mother of one of our Occupiers who has come all the way from Cape Cod to check up on her son, and say thanks for being a safe haven, a community. 
And now there’s nothing left but to clean up. I ask DJ Dan to take hot cider and fresh cake to Pascal and Dominic the Chirstmas tree guys across the street. Ah, the legend grows, he says. And he returns with a small Christmas tree. For Occupy Wall Street, he says. 
So, how was it? Maybe there was more spirit last year. A greater sense of adventure. Of  boldly reoccupying the church, even in cold freezing enough to see your breath, no heat, no bathrooms. This year, with the 747 blower going, the warmth  was fine. And bathrooms too. Felt more like, well, a normal holiday event. More traffic. Maybe more sales. Less like courageous pioneers.
It’s down to Ted and I. Lights off. Doors closed. Walking home, I stop to talk with the picketers at Saigon Grill. Of course, Hope is with them. They believe they’ve got the owners on the ropes. I remember last Christmas Eve, the Chinese picketers wearing Santa Claus hats. It’s 23 degrees. Time to go home.
Ted and Judith

To read about last year's Crafts Fair, Balcony Muisc Festival and Advent 4 with Rick Ufford-Chase, go to:

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