Called to Re-formation

November 30, 2014

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

Advent 1– RCL Year B
Isaiah 61:1-9; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37

“Let me borrow your skin?” I want to ask the friend who writes through hot tears on the morning bus.
Because they say to walk a mile in a man’s shoes if you really want to know his life.
But I know today that shoes that slip on and off with will are not enough for me to know what I need to know.
I need you to loan me your skin, because maybe inside it I will find my way to the knowing I need.
Maybe in your skin I will grow to understand the pain that boils to hot anger in your blood.
And maybe in your skin I can stand outside my own privilege long enough to know-in the truth of your life and your story.
If I could borrow your dark eyes then maybe I could see your son’s future through the storm of fear that brews inside you.
Loan me your skin so I can find the words to explain the scars that mark your life?
If I could speak in the rasping hoarseness of your voice so long unheard maybe I would feel the urge to shout with you.
If I could sing the slave’s songs with my grandmother’s memories pulsing in their harmonies then maybe I would feel the fullness of their soulful wails.
Let me borrow your skin so I can trace the scars of sideways glances and cold, hard stares of intimidation?
If I could finger your hair atop my head, during the silent shifting on the bus in the seat where I have the right to sit but not the welcome–
Let me borrow your skin so I can find the courage to bear the offense taken when I speak about the life you live in it.
sb10064317c-002I never ask it and she doesn’t have to answer for me to know what has always been true.
There is no way out for her of the skin she lives in and no way far enough in for me to truly know.
What we have to share is this – that I slide in close and lace my pale fingers through hers,
Embrace, leaning in to one another, and hear our hearts beat the same
of redemption’s song.

Tuesday morning began for me with heaviness of heart, having heard about the Ferguson grand jury verdict the night before. I knew that my Facebook page would be filled with anger, sadness, confusion and frustration, and it was. Then, later in the day, this poem, written by Colleen Mitchell, came across my News Feed – she had written it that morning. Read the rest of this entry »

From Anguish to Alleluia!

August 17, 2014

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

Proper 15 – RCL Year A
Genesis 45:1-15; Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; Matthew 15:21-28

Jesus left Gennesaret and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly. (Mt 15:21-28)

I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve been overwhelmed by the onslaught of tragic stories in the news. For the last several months there has been an increase of unrest, or at least that’s the way it feels. At first this seemed to be concentrated in the usual areas far away – the Middle East, Afghanistan and the Ukraine to name a few.

We’ve been hearing more and more about about the escalating attacks and death-counts in Gaza. Then, on July 17th we were stunned to learn that a commercial jetliner had been shot down over Ukraine, killing almost three hundred innocent victims. And all the while the Ebola virus has been spreading deeper and deeper across West Africa.

Immigration protesters on both sides of the debate staged rallies at a California Border Patrol station last week, in response to the child migrant crisis. Photo: Sandy Huffaker /Getty

And lest we think all the hardships are in far-off lands, we have our own issues to deal with. There are constant reminders of the young children seeking refuge in the U.S., fleeing their homeland due to violence and danger. This crisis has been met with mixed feelings and angry voices on both sides of the issue. Add to that the random shootings in offices and shopping malls, not to mention the endless bickering of a divided Congress, where finger-pointing rules the day. Read the rest of this entry »

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