Monday, February 6, 2012

If we want it

Just before worship, I get a phone call from Rose’s mother in  the Berkshires wanting to know  if her daughter’s ok. I tell her I just saw her last night and she seems greatly relieved. And when I see Requiem, I say, Tell Rose her mom called. 
No Amy.No Andre. I’m on my own. Marssha suggests we just have a discussion, but I want to use some of the hymn, Arise Your Light is Come! :

 Arise, your light is come!
The Spirit's call obey;
Show forth the glory of your God,
Which shines on you today.

 Arise, your light is come!
Fling wide the prison door;
Proclaim the captives' liberty,
Good tidings to the poor.

 Arise, your light is come!
All you in sorrow born,
Build up the broken-hearted ones
And comfort those who mourn.

 Arise, your light is come!
The mountains burst in song!
Rise up like eagles on the wing;
God's power will make us strong.

Are we just supposed to sing these words? Do they have any meaning?
John reads for us the Isaiah passage, (40: 21-31), we do Psalms 147:1-11, 20c peoples’ mike style, Marsha reads 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Hugo, Mark 1: 29-39 in Spanish and I read it in English. 
It’s interesting how it changes your sermon when you look out and at least half the congregation are occupiers. Joined by Jamie, the neighbor from across the street who’s come in to check things out. 
I start by asking What does everybody need?  And I get food, shelter, water, the usual. Then Rafael says companionship... you have to have people with you, you can’t be out there alone. And  when I mention Presbytery, Hugo mentions respect...Which gets me to where I wanted to go, dignity...I see that as a theme in all our passages. And the denial of that  behind much of the  violence, I see, physical, otherwise, in  the movement, and in church. And I say that.
Isaiah starts by putting kings and princes in perspective...who created the foundations of the earth? Who brings princes to naught... to whom rulers are as nothing...In whose eye’s the one percent...and the rest of us...are like grasshoppers...
On the one hand, we are as nothing..on the other hand...we are known by name...a paradox....
According to Isaiah, He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. When I ask about the basics of classic community organizing, the first word Marsha comes up with is relationships, it all  begins with relaionships, with one-on-ones...But the next word is, it is about power...
Power and  powerlessness. I remember how Pablo Richard once told me that North American Christians don’t understand power. That you can’t just give it up voluntarily or walk away from it because an evil person will add it to their rown. We must use what we have for transformation, and the effective transferrence of power to those who have not. 
How in Spanish, the word is poder... to be able to, the farm workers’ said, before Obama, si se puede, yes we can...
And so the question, what is real power? real change? not just insisting on your own way..., but serious, grassroots, lastng change?
Are these just things we read in the Bible, that sounfd good in sermons, or do we really believe it? Willing to work for it?
But those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
That is the encouragement for us...
We need strategies...
Paul speaks of being  all things to all people....but why? It’s not just about effective salespersonship. It’s about  Dignity again. Respecting people for who they are,their culture, their histories, their stories...about looking for places to connect...
I have always dreamt of having a church ,a place, where currents cross...and that is already,we are making it happen...
In the Jesus story, he heals Simon’s mother in law. Wait a minute, Peter has a wife? Whats her story? And we wrestle with how after Jesus healed her fever, she began to serve them..This is NOT about male and female roles, even historically. 
The point here  is, we are healed to serve..As we come to ourselves, as we regain our stength, our power, we are called to bring it back to the community. Peter’s mother in law was the first deacon, those who do the work of the church, visiting the sick, caring for the poor, and yes,  serving communion. 
And in this, too, there is dignity...
Hugo reminds us of the verse, ....if you want can do all these things, if you want..and we recall John Lennon, war is over if you want it... We can do this, God will be with us...if we want it...
For our Eucharist today, we are using two cups, the one made for us by John Hudson, with the street on the outside and the people inside and the other one  a cup made for us by Dan’s mother, symbolizing the occupiers joining us at the table. And Dan, free again, is with us. Wearing his kipa. 
Coming into the circle, we are singing Let us break bread togther on our knees,...we join hands together and sing Amen. 
After worship, it’s hard to break up the conversations taking place. But our Session has to meet, review what happened at Presbytery, develop our strategy. We need to stenghthen our own unity. We need to reach out and develop more relationships, figure out how to better tell our story...
When the session has left, Jamie and Steve want to talk. About how to tmake more connections between #OWS and the neighborhood.  Break down more barriers, enlarge the circle of conversation. As we are taling, I look in the sanctuary, at Jane’s service. A Haitian woman is sharing her dance, her song....the rom is filling with drums, with singing...

On Amsterdam, there's Deacon Linda, spiky red hair bright as always. Tells me she will be working in the homeless  shelter with our crew tonight. Just about Super Bowl time. 

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