I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live.Ezekiel 37:5
Friends in Christ,
The word breath appears in our scripture 1,716 times. The word spirit appears 482 times. Almost always they have a connection: God’s spirit, Jesus’ breath and our life. Our life.
Some of you know that I help to lead the Newton Inter-Faith Clergy Association (NICA) along with three others, including Rabbi Allison Berry who visited with us on May 17th. This winter and spring so much of our work has pertained to Covid issues across the City.
In the past few weeks the other pandemic, racism, has taken center stage. I have spent hours on screens with City Hall (the Mayor is working on our systems and policing issues) and perhaps you’ve read or watched items I’ve written for the community or offered on video. I’m doing this to promote the way of the spirit and the breath of life.
But we are just scratching the surface. I have to do a lot of listening. I have to pray. Because while ML King identified “the fierce urgency of now” — and that’s real — this will take time.
As I’ve said from our “pulpit,” I am sure that God is in this: this moment of anger and urgency and insight and hope. So I pray to follow God’s way.
What are you doing these days? Are you attending any demonstrations? Involved in any groups or practices? What do you need from our church?
Several years ago we welcomed the authors of a book called Traces of the Trade to a discussion here at NHCC. They study the involvement of northerners in the business of slavery. After that we had some brief “Sacred Conversations on Race.” But until lately I haven’t done much myself. I regret that.
Frederick Douglass said that he would work tirelessly with “my voice, my pen and my vote.” If the issues of racism matter to us as Christians gathered in this parish we must do the same.
What else shall we do?
Peace to you,
Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.Reinhold Niebuhr