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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Inaugurations....


1/22/17



Wow. It was amazing. Being in the match yesterday was  a profoundly moving experience. One (as a sign put it) like a mighty stream up 5th Avenue
and it was....
with a spirit of  anger, joy, determination and yes, humor. All those wonderful pink …kitty? hats…..(missing an opportunity of a first in a sermon)…
Love the hats!

Less noticeable things that you had to pay attention to notice…like the waving nuns at St. Patrick's Cathedral and  church bells at St. Thomas playing “This Land is your land” and “the Star Spangled banner” and “We shall overcome”. All afternoon we marched and posted and chanted and sang. All afternoon  picking  up new notifications from my friends. 

But it was only when I woke up in the middle of the night  and checked my phone that I fully got it..the full width and breadth if my friends…there were West-Park folks..:
  1. Pat, Russ, Kate and in the snow in Utah, Jeremy and Center board member Pat
  2. Presbyterians…and Methodists, Lutherans  and Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs
  3. Mothers, daughters and grandmothers!
  4. Family members and friends in New York, D.C., Oklahoma City, Portland, Los Angeles ,Utah, Louisville, and the US embassy in Tel Aviv….and a funeral parade for democracy in New Orleans…
  5. Longtime veteran marchers and many, many first timers…

It was the largest one day demonstration in history….conservatively at least three million people…organized and led by women!…wow…

The inauguration dwarfed by the march…

Our scriptures speak of an inauguration today..the inauguration of Jesus’ ministry. It’s easy to forget that he was brought up with at least a hint of suspicion about his parentage. That in an age where couples married young, at age 30 he was still unmarried , living at home and working in his father’s shop, considered odd, at least. And now he has stepped out….being baptized by John in the wilderness…

His  ministry begins in this way…John has been arrested…he heads to Galilee, to Capernaum on the lake, and to a people “who sat in darkness…and in the “shadow of death” brought light. And he does so not with a NEW word, but by picking up John’s mantle…and message…right where he left off and proclaims “repent! for the kingdom of heaven is at hand..”

Isaiah describes that time of darkness of exile, of being under another’s control…under yokes and bars and rods

(This is still the season of epiphany so still with the light…)

The psalm is a song…the Lord is my light, my night and my salvation, in God I trust…a song I remember our friend Andre filling with jazz improvisations…

Corinthians describes division within the community…I belong to Paul…to Apollos…or Cephas…or Christ

To Donald…to Hillary…to Bernie…(even our faith community breaks down that way..) Easy to forget how sincerely millions of  people in this country are in their hope for what our new President can do…some of my friends actually have friends who disagree with them who open up debates in the comments section…some of which disturb me greatly…at how little we understand one another..still trying to understand one of  the occupiers who lived here who felt Trump’s speech was an expression of  a radical perspective…returning government …“to the people”

What is to be  done? What is the light to be brought to his darkness…well, yesterday sure shone…I look at many of my photos  and see bright sunlight shining through…but as for the church…

Note how Jesus calls people….as individuals, with particular
places, jobs and names…when we look out, how do we see people? Do we know them? Even our neighbors? (Mine in Harlem knew me before I knew them..)

Paul was called not to baptize, but to proclaim the gospel..not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross not be emptied from its power…
Let’s make that clear…it’s not about saying yes to a formula or saying the right words or giving assent an idea or fancy philosophical argument or systematic theology…but the power of the cross…being willing to follow, even to the end if necessary…from the sake turning away form a system of death and oppression and to one of life and light….

allowing our own lights to shine in the process….shining so that this community can share its light in the broader light that shone yesterday…
may this  be a new beginning…an inauguration, of you will, of a new life of faithful resistance…

Today with Jeremy in Utah for the premiere of the new film on which he worked musically, On the Sly: In search of the family stone….and we sang the old song. “They’ll know we are Christians by our love” and “How firm a foundation.”  Old songs…we finished with “Fight the Good Fight..” It’s just begun.








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