Last Sunday I preached about our call to be one another's Pieces of Hope in a dangerous world. I talked about the need for faith communities to be places that hold space for those called to work for peace and justice, places where rage and grief, celebration and hope can be held in common. I used Judith Butler's term, Communities of Care, from this interview to describe what I believe we are called to be for such a time as this. (I am sorry the sound wasn't working. Here is my script with my sermon notes.)
Later in the afternoon I was driving home and saw that a march for Ceasefire in Palestine was happening near the Capital. I was sad to discover that faith leaders in our community that are working on issues of Peace were not made aware of this event. I was even more saddened to hear that the organizers did not want Christian clergy there, assuming we are all Christian Nationalists and Christian Zionists.
I was sad because I know that so many people who identify as Christian would stand together regardless of our theologies and demand a ceasefire in Palestine because every death, whether Palestinian or Israeli, is worthy to be mourned. Every human being, regardless of where they live, what God they pray to, what color or culture, gender or sexuality, every human being killed by senseless violence is worthy of our rage and grief.
For many who have been part of the justice movements for the last 50 years, the idea of sitting with our grief and rage, spending the time to be a community of care, seems like a big waste of time. Listening to one another when there are people dying seems self-absorbed. And yet, if we do not create ways for care to happen in community we are unable to truly trust one another when we speak for and with the voiceless.
Being a place where we experience both comfort and joy is something to which the "church" has always been called. In Acts, chapter 4, the writer says about the newly forming community of Christ, they were "of one heart and soul and no one said that any of the things that belonged to them were their own, but they had everything in common." ESV. They were to be one another's Piece of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. They were to be the advent of God with and for one another. They were to bring comfort and joy in the face of terror and suffering.
I still believe this is what the church is called for and what I have given my life in service to. And, to live out this call we need to make room for miracles. Surprises that are of God and not ourselves.
May we seek the surprise found in the manger, the comfort and joy found on the hillside, and the peace and good will found in communities of care all around the world.
Blessings and Peace,