Sunday, February 21, 2010

IMPACT Rally this week - hope to see you there!

Please consider attending the IMPACT Rally this coming Thursday, February 25th at 6:45PM at the Church of the Incarnation.

Some folks get a little confused by the IMPACT lingo (Assembly? Rally? Action?), so here's a little explanation in question and answer format:

Q: What's the difference between the Rally and the Action?
A: The RALLY is where IMPACT will announce exactly what we are seeking from the city and county stake-holders in regards to pre-K education, as well as interpretive services in the legal system. We will build momentum and energy for the Action in March. There will be wonderful music, prayer, reflection, and testimony on the issues.

Q: Which meeting is more important?
A: Well, unquestionably, the Nehemiah Action in March is where we want to have the greatest attendance. If you can attend only one event, the Action is key. But if you can't make the Action in March, or can be present both nights, PLEASE come on Thursday night!

Q: Why should I bother with the Rally?
A: Great question! Here are three reasons:
1. Issue updates. When you remind your friends and neighbors about the Action, and they want to know what's at stake, you can tell them in detail.
2. Inspiration. We have had fantastic turnout for the Nehemiah Action in the past. Other congregations need our encouragement and support at the Rally, and your presence will inspire them.
3. Wonderful music? Prayer? Reflection? A joyous night with IMPACT member congregations? Say no more!

If you have any questions about the Rally, the Action, the issues, or IMPACT in general, please don't hesitate to email or call me.

This quote is a wonderful interpretation of John 15:13 ("Greater love has no one than this..."):
When we think about laying down a life for another we usually think in terms of a singular event. But it is possible for us to lay down our lives over the course of a lifetime, minute by minute and day by day. And it is the work of the Spirit to empower us as we seek to lose ourselves in acts of lovingkindness and sacrificial living.

- Elaine Puckett, professor at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia

I hope you will consider sacrificing an evening or two for those in our community who are suffering due to inequalities in our education and legal system, and for the greater cause of justice.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bishop Katharine, Prophets, and IMPACT

I'm still processing the many challenging and invigorating ideas and images presented by Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori during her visit to celebrate St. Paul's centennial this past weekend.

Like a musical work that reveals more with each listening, when I reflect on the things she said and, just as importantly, how she said them, I find myself being drawn further into God's mystery and the questions that bring us together.

I had the privilege of playing guitar with the youth group on Friday night, with the added benefit of participating in the talk that followed. Here's what most impressed me about Bishop Katharine's retelling of her journey:

1. Bishop Katharine's talents were recognized by the people around her, and they encouraged and supported her development. Her only agenda is furthering God's work.
2. She was never certain of what lay around the next corner, and sometimes questioned whether she was making the right decision, but was always open to God's will.

It is this "open-ness" that most impressed me. Her serenity invited participation, her answers invited further questions, her presence made all feel welcome.

Her Sunday sermon concerned prophets/profits. It's worth reading (or re-reading) in its entirety (on Rev. Jim's blog), but I wanted to highlight a portion that has specific meaning for me and the work we all do with IMPACT.
"Every time we see and speak out about injustice, or the need for healing or reconciliation, we’re both speaking in God’s name and pushing for progress toward God’s vision. Loving our neighbors is intimately wrapped up in that prophetic work of telling the truth of what is and what ought to be.

...Your next hundred years will be built on that kind of courage to speak truth, to pluck up and pull down human structures of injustice, and to build and plant a community of peace.

...Prophets may be quaking in their boots, like MLK the night his house was bombed, but they keep on speaking, and they keep on moving toward God’s perfection. May your words and deeds be bold!"

That is the truth: our work for justice in our community is an expression of our love for our neighbors. Our work for justice is to "build and plant a community of peace."

Thank you, Bishop Katharine, for your wisdom and your courage.