Pages

Donate to our boiler restoration fund!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sticks and stones may break my bones...

9/13/15

It’s a great relief to have Dion there , helping to get everything ready. I couldn’t do it otherwise.  Jeremy is upstate on a recording project, so I’m on my own today.

Our main scripture today is James 3: 1-12:

1Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. 3If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.
How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8but no one can tame the tongue-a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. 11Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 12Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.


This is the weekend of 9/11….perhaps the first one where I didn’t feel very reflective…or even much AWARE….what made me think about it was the two days of events held here  at the church  by groups demanding that the truth be declassified… apparently 28 pages of Bush’s investigation report are classified…  there are architects and engineers with those skills and other specified  group and still others …who live for conspiracy theories….they seem to believe that 9/11 was an inside job.
I just can’t go there.

But I remember who we were…
The first day…the session members calling every church member to make sure everyone was accounted for.  The open sanctuary we held for the community who came in and gathered here, just to be here. The journalist from France who joined in with us and then  filed a story back home…

The first Sunday after…when I asked each musician to do what meant the most to them. And Andre brought his Muslim friend to play the flute, as a sign that we would refuse to label or other anyone…

Our night there….at ground zero…serving food all night….the hundreds of faces of grim workers passing by us…

All the groups who came from around the country to do volunteer work at Ground  Zero and stay with us..
Our 18 months of  Hub Church activity directed by Angela Willey, meeting the needs of those who fell between the cracks…
Receiving the Angle of 9-11 award from New York City Presbytery
We were exactly who we were supposed to be…

OK…..let’s talk about WORDS..Do you remember the old saying, from when you were a child? Sticks and stones may break my bones ….but names can never hurt me?.remember that? But words can hurt too. Maybe even worse than sticks and stones. They can break spirits. Break hearts. It’s surprising that WORD  is so important Biblically ….in Genesis, God speaks and it is….in John, in the beginning was what, THE WORD was with God and was GOD.

Think now of words you can’t say aloud. Think of Lenny Bruce. Or George Carlin’s 7 words you can’t say on TV.  Or now all the categories of words we don’t use so as to not offend people. PC.

The school year’s begun again and I’m thinking about bullying…and
what we pass on to our  kids…the language of hatred, the language of  condescension, of disrespect…
That words can inspire…they can also deflate….and destroy…

I was struck by the story of the Baptist minister from Louisiana whose name was revealed in the Ashley Madison hacking attack….it’s not evident that he ever did anything more than sign up…his shame was so great, he committed suicide…

I’ve been watching the new HBO series, In search of a hero….the story of the court ordered housing desegregation of Yonkers in the 1980’s.  The main character is   Nick Wasicsko, mayor of Yonkers, youngest mayor in the US at that time.  He’d run on a campaign to resist the desegregation but faced with reality, he became it’s champion. And came to truly believe in it. It cost him his job. He already  felt that  he’d lost everything. Then the  one who succeeded him as mayor kept launching “investigations”…in which hardly anything was ever found…. When Nick heard he was under investigation, he gave up.  He’d done nothing wrong but believed the mere accusation would take away his integrity.  I had a long talk with a friend, a priest who had long known Nick’s wife, who did their wedding, and Nick’s  funeral. Nick had come to see my friend earlier in the  day. Said that he could stand losing everything but his name and his integrity. And then he went and shot himself on his father’s grave.

(This makes Marsha very upset. So why doesn’t our side ever have any resilience? What are we so afraid of? Why can’t we fight back? They should take that off  the TV….
I explain that the real point is about desegregation, not suicide. But I hear her. She references an Atlantic article  about extremes in sensitivity on college campuses. (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/)

Yes, words are important…what we say matters….And yes, words …they bless…and curse..

Scripture says, we who teach will be judged with greater strictness…and all of us in what we say and do, are teachers…in one way or another…so let’s take care of the power of words…

I leave thankful for Marsha’s challenges, the way she makes me rethink my thoughts and ideas, go deeper…that’s what these Sunday times are for.




No comments:

Post a Comment