Pages

Donate to our boiler restoration fund!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Feed my sheep




4/21

Remembered from yesterday...young person in the south portal...a sign outside sleeping bag...Hungry. Homleess. Looking for a miracle. I don’t have the heart to tell him we don’t allow signs....

                               * * * *

As I arrive at the church, Rachelle is in animated conversation with Stephen on the steps.  Pastor, I wanted to help your congregation, I was going to come to services, bring other people to services, but not now, not because of this man, this man..indicating Stephen. The issue is she wants to bring her SUV cart inside. I explain that’s not going to happen. She continues to argue. Listen I say, there’s not a single congregation that would let you put that in the sanctuary. 
Oh but pastor, they all make  room, every time I go to schul....

Her voice has that dental drill tone again....I break my own standard  and say, Rachelle, it looks like a garbage truck, empty bottles, papers.....and so she begins to explain the value and worth of each treasured  item....I want to give up.

As always, my friend Mark from the UN ministry is here early and ready to help.  Anna has brought a suitcase filled with clothes from a former occupier. Stephen puts it beside the garbage can on the street. Mark’s UN interns are arriving. One a Columbia undergrad the other, a third career seminarian from the Bay area. 


I start out by sharing the religio-socio history of West-Park with those who have come as visitors.  I begin the service by playing Good Shepherd, by the Jefferson Airplane. Seeing who’s old enough to remember. Our prayers are filled with  remembrances of Boston, including the surviving suspect, Dzhokar Tsamaev and his family. There is reference to the explosion in Texas. And Mark and Don speak of the earthquake n China. 

I reflect that this is Good Shepherd Sunday. Regardless of how liturgically, lectionary wise, we got here, it’s perfect for this week.  I start by asking people’s feelings. Some feel  vulnerable. Some wondering about our mental heath system. others simply the random uncertainty  of our lives. Yet none see this as a call for more access to weapons..Instead there us anger towards the Senate and their failure  to act...

Our scripture is John 10: 2-30. Lots going on this week. The Boston Marathon, the vote of the senate on gun control, the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.......

In the midst of all of this, it is Good Shepherd Sunday. It happens every year on the the 4th Sunday of Easter. The very middle of Eastertide, halfway between Easter and Pentecost.Why? No one is exactly sure. But this year, it’s especially appropriate...

 We remember how after 9-11 we read, sang, and prayed the 23rd psalm....even though it wasn’t the appointed psalm for the week. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall; not not want. The  Lord is my shepherd, I shall  not want we chanted and then AndrĂ© took off improvising off the verses

This is the most requested psalm for funerals.one we  carry  around in our  hearts...Why?

It must strike us as essential some how, somehow inherently true, beyond our heads, deep into our hearts.  Last week in our neighborhood lectionary group, I misheard one of our members translate a passage as darkest ALLEY not darkest valley...an urban image ....we agree, it’s about living with courage ....It’s about finding your way home in the dark....

The actual Hebrew says. Goodness and mercy shall PURSUE me all my days...As for the end, I like Eugene  Peterson’s take on the psalm: 
in his The Message : I'm back home in the house of God for the rest of my life. Back home....

In community organizing, we are taught that  leaders are those who have  have followers..and that we need to differentiate between organizers and leaders. What was amazing in Boston as in New York before it, was how the people organized themselves,without  directions  from authorities, to deal with what was going on...

So in Boston, where was God? In those who jumped the fences to staunch wounds. In those who kept running two more miles after finishing the marathon to the hospitals to give blood. Those who organized the medical tents. Those who kept heir heads and helped others to keep theirs. These are the heroes. The everyday heroes.

There is nothing dumb in these sheep.....

After the service, we share the cake that Arcadia has brought as well as the coffee that Jamie brings. The session gathers and gets up to date as to where we now are.  Outside, to police cars, lights flashing, pull up to gingerly examine Anna's suitcase left by garbage.  Berik, from Kazakhstan, is concerned that all the suspects's relatives sound like him...

after worship


After visiting the art exhibit  at SPSA by Angelo Romano, including his angel talisman, I return. The Sanctuary NYC new play reading performance is  still going on.

And much later that night, I return. Rachelle, with her SUV cart, is at the corner. Waiting. 



1 comment:

  1. It was a great service. I appreciate your not naming those old enough to remember Good Shepherd by the Jefferson Airplane as I would have been among the first on the list!

    ReplyDelete