Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Russian Christmas and doing Bible study


Russian Christmas. The local newspaper in my hometown always ran a special greeting every January 7th. There was a big Russian community in our neighboring mill town, Canonsburg. I always liked that one last day for the season. I see January 7th, I feel mills, steel gray skies and a smoky dusting of snow on the ground.

Welcome back Danielle! Finally back from the holidays. She has been spending the morning cleaning up the office. Start the New Year afresh. Damarius and Cara are both here. They each take a broom and set out sweeping steps and aisles and....people who were touched by Teddy’s life, who knew what he did, keep coming forward to do their best to fill in the gaps. All out of thankfulness for what they had received.

Jobie is surprised I don’t remember him. I vaguely remember calling the ambulance, him being taken away. It’s been months. He’s got a place to live and assistance on the way. Feels blessed. Is thankful. Sooner or later I know it’s coming. And sooner or later I’m out $20. He wants to sing a song. Somewhere between a work song and a gospel praise song. Like a subway singer. He’s praising God as he leaves the building. At least I got a song.

RL on his daily pass through welcoming Danielle back on his way to visit Harvey. We all need a better New Year.

Bible Study. Tonight we’re back into Mark. Continuing the journey. Deep into chapter 11. Jesus has just cleansed the temple. The chief priests, the scribes and the elders come to question his authority. In other words, the sanhedrin. In other words, those who control the country on behalf of the Roman occupation. 

They are trying to trap him. He answers by raising the issue of John the Baptist, who they had killed. As they answer the question about John, they will answer the question about him. And he knows they have no answer. 

And then he brings the parable of the Wicked Tenants. (12: 1-12)He clearly is implicating them. The don’t own anything. It all belongs to God. And they have refused to give back. And have done violence to Gods messengers, the prophets. Jesus is clear in his judgment:
He will come  and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others...

I have to get us past the idea that somehow this is about Jews. Ethnically. Or even religiously. This is about illegitimate and self important dominant powers and authority. And the others Jesus speaks of are not Gentiles or even Christians, they are the poor, the marginalized and excluded of the community. 

The powers  are threatened because they understand their own vulnerability and their own illegitimacy and that their power comes from outside, not inside. Therefore, they acknowledge the power of prophetic witness and the power of the people.  And leave Jesus alone. For the moment. 

We have just entered into the debate about taxes and Caesar when Hugo arrives with a load of food. Chicken and rice and beans and vegetables. We immediately swing into action dividing the food up into portions. 

I find two men on the steps. Se quieren comer algo? Tenemos arroz y pollo y frijoles...
Gracias, si gracias...comes the response. By the time I get back with the plates two more men have arrived and John and I feed them. A white middle aged man has arrived. I get him a plate.  And before he eats, he bows his head, crosses himself and gives thanks. 

Marsha calls SPSA and Capital Hall. John and Damarius head for the streets. Food going out into the night. That is doing Bible study.

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