Tag Archives: justice

DISPLACEMENT LESSONS

Watching the news of massive flooding in Texas and South Asia, I cannot help but be touched by the humanness of the experience. After all, as the mass migration and refugee crisis show us every day, displacement is something millions of women, men and children experience each day as a result of poverty, violence, war, and environmental disasters.

I am touched deeply by the look on the face of a Bangladeshi mother as she carries her child through water waste deep … pure determination mixed with despair. I am heartened by a comment by two young men in Texas who were helping strangers evacuate, “We’re not heroes, we’re ordinary people doing what we can do.”

I also cannot help but reflect on my own time of displacement last fall. One October morning I woke up to a fire outside our motherhouse. Everyone was safe, but the main building is still not occupiable. I spent about four months living out of boxes away from home. I was safe, I had everything I needed, I was cared for … and yet I was discombobulated constantly. I kept losing things and was off kilter even as life settled into a new normal.

We have been back home since January, but I am still finding things and sorting them. Just today I found a favorite mug I thought had been lost and found some important papers that had been oddly mixed in with some trivial stuff in the packing and unpacking.

I hold in prayer all those who have lost their homes, their livelihoods, their mementos. I pray for all those relying on the kindness of strangers, and those strangers who see a neighbor in need and respond even though they have never met them before.

I hope and pray that all will be safe, and just maybe hearts will be broken open enough to widen our circle of relationship. 

Maybe those sharing a shelter with an undocumented family will be able to see them as friend and neighbor rather than other to be feared or vilified. Perhaps stereotypes and bias towards racial or ethnic groups will be tested through a shared human experience. 

I pray that in our gratitude for safety and securury and prosperity we recognize the vulnerability we all share.

I pray that our common experience of compassion and care for those facing unimaginable suffering brings us closer, makes us stronger, and teaches us what really matters in life.

Connection not division.

Little acts of kindness and love that can break through even the worst suffering and despair.

Hope not fear.

AMEN

Working with the Spirit

In today’s reading from Paul’s Letter to Timothy, we hear

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God.

I think we all need to pray with and reflect on these words, especially as we enter into a time like none we have experienced in our lifetimes, when the widow, the orphan, the refugee, the marginalized and vulnerable are under attack by misguided, isolationist and dare I say non-Christian policies.

But God did not give us a spirit of cowardice. God gave us the Holy Spirit to disturb us, urge us on, and give us the energy and inspiration to stand up for what is good and right and just.

We were called to these times to bring the Gospel values of love, justice, peace, inclusion, equality, and compassion to our lives together. We are called to work with the Spirit on behalf of the common good.

The church, which means both leaders and the people of God, needs to be a strong voice for Gospel values during these dark days. 

For my part, I have decided to tweet to the president each day of his administration, since it is a platform he follows religiously as it were. But more important than whether or not he actually reads any of my tweets, I am committed. I am praying for him each day. I am praying for those who are impacted by his unjust policy choices. And I am speaking out. Resistance must be centered in the goal of right relationship, and at this point when I want to just hide under the covers, I am called to stay at the table and engaged, to keep my eyes open, and to act with a compassionate heart and a loud voice for justice. As someone who follows Jesus, it is the least I can do, and hopefully this commitment will lead me to courageous action on behalf of the common good.

Who will join me?