No matter where we live, events of the world reach us instantaneously. Whether we are personally effected by acts of violence, natural disasters, injustice, or tragedy, we are each touched by the ramifications of another occurrence of brokenness in our world.
As Christians we are called to be bridge builders of peace, voices for the voiceless, and agents of reconciliation. Our church communities respond instantaneously in times of crisis, and we are hungry to learn how to do more. Whether individually or corporately, by collaborating with each other we can make a difference.
There are two “resources” that will soon be available as new tools for our individual and corporate toolboxes for proclaiming peace, justice, and reconciliation – to be agents of hope.
The below sermon was preached at the 2014 diocesan convention for the Episcopal Church in Vermont on All Saints Day, November 1, 2014. The theme of convention was “Equipped for the Journey: Formation for Mission”
Much of yesterday we were challenged to look at how we join in God’s mission of restoration and reconciliation. We live in changing times, and as Phyllis Tickle shares in her book, The Great Emergence, every five hundred years the Church has a rummage sale; we are again living in such a time of reformation. What do we need to keep? What do we need to get rid of? What do we need to re-imagine?
I don’t know about you, but this summer has been hard. If you listen to any news reports – whether it is in print, radio, television, or social media it has been hard. One would have had to been on a news fast, removed from all contact with the outside world to be oblivious to all that has been going on. Hatred, bitterness, anxiety, and violence seem to be permeating our society, here in the U.S. and in the world. Rockets launched into neighborhoods and school yards in Gaza and Israel; Christians in fear of their lives in Iraq; tear gas on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri; and children held like prisoners on our borders.
Anyone who has participated in any of Eric Law’s workshops or trainings or read some of his books, know that he is a gifted writer, musician and poet. His work on diversity and inclusion is well known throughout the Episcopal Church and beyond.
Eric weekly blogs on The Sustainist, offering reflections of the events occurring in our world as well as questions for pondering the Sunday lectionary readings. This week he shares a reflection on how we react when things happen in our society and what it means to live fully alive in a culture of fear.
From Limit to Grace
I carry a backpack containing my computer and the things I need for my meetings, workshops, travels and conferences all the time. I switched to a backpack a couple of years ago after carrying a heavy shoulder bag on one shoulder making my posture unbalanced for years. So, when in the midst of the frantic media reactions to the bombing at the Boston Marathon, someone suggested that we should ban all backpacks from public events, I was a little upset. I was upset because this reaction to this tragedy was to set more limits, which is one of the typical responses to fear. Here is the logic: since the last tragedy involved two people who carried backpacks with explosives, we should limit the use of backpacks to increase safety. Using the same logic, why don’t we also ban baseball caps and immigrants from public events?
He suggests that we should be sustainists rather than setting even more limits that narrow our thinking. How are we living out Jesus’ command to “love one another”?
Read more of From Limit to Grace, including a link to listen to a song he wrote following the shootings in Sandy Hook in December entitled, “Sustain the Weary.”