October 27, 2011 @ 03:56 pm by Jacqui Lewis
It is getting cold outside, and sadly, tempers are getting hot in Atlanta and Oakland as occupiers are dispersed. In our own city, even in the midst of tensions, I keep hearing stories of the love and care being displayed among those in the park, and from so many who take care and Spirit down to Wall Street. I hear stories of consensus-building, even as boundaries are created to keep people safe. When people talk too long, a sign goes up to tell them time is up! Occupy Wall Street, however we feel about it, is organized to care for the community. There are committees and teams and assignments for leaders, all ready and set-up with intention to feed folk, keep them warm, wash their clothes, and keep the space clean. I know that some have a critique of this movement, but we have to critique this as well: there is a wide gap between God’s vision for a just society and the way our economy works. Unemployment and underemployment, increasing poverty among our children and older citizens, rising debt for students and working class families–the numbers do not add up in God’s Economy.
This is where their work IS our work. How do we as a people get to a better place? How do we dismantle current systems that do not care for most of us, and create systems that do? How do we listen to folk who are different than we are, listen for consensus in our stories and visions, and then create a new reality in which all of the people, especially the poor, are invited to sit at the welcome table (Luke 14:12-24)? How do we create a just society in which 100% of us are pulling together to heal our nation?
This Sunday following worship, my congregation, Middle Collegiate Church will host a Town Hall discussion so we can share stories and vision from many perspectives. Listening deeply with compassion in a safe space can lead to consensus and a new way to be human.
As we prepare for this conversation I would like you to think about these three questions.
• Question #1: What would a vision of economic justice look like to you?
• Questions #2: What do our visions have in common?
• Question #3: How do we collaborate across age, race, gender, economic status, faith tradition, political viewpoints and personal goals to achieve economic justice or God’s Economy?
Later in the afternoon, there will be an Interfaith Worship at the park at 4:30pm led by Occupy Faith NYC.
Friends, our congregation is already very busy doing God’s work, providing food assistance to approximately 1,500 people per month and clothing for about 200 people a month for those in back-to-work transition or in need. We want to do more.
I am so proud of Middle Church. I personally LOVE the spirit of what is happening in the Occupy Wall Street movement, yet I know we do not all feel the same about it. Our diversity and respect for it is part of the magic of Middle Church. In the midst of our diversity, we all share a vision of God’s Economy–in which all have food enough to eat, clothes on our backs, safe and warm places to lay our heads, make a living wage so we can support our families, affordable health care so we can stay well, and jobs when we graduate from college so we don’t start our adult lives with a huge burden of debt. Economic Justice is a goal we all share.
How do you feel about economic justice? Your story matters to us as we think about God’s Economy. We hope you will join the conversation as we seek to build God’s Reign and God’s Economy on earth. I hope to see you Sunday, October 30th at 11:15 am for an artistic worship celebration in which the congregation participates in the sermon through movement and conversation. Please stay for our Town Hall Meeting and then lunch and talk at tables. I hope you will come on Sunday, November 6, at 6:00pm for a musically rich worship celebration featuring 30 Rock and Broadway’s Tituss Burgess, and more conversation afterward. And I hope you will add your voice to this important discussion as you follow us on line, on Facebook and on Twitter.
I believe we have all been called together for such a time as this. Good people of courage, with faithful hearts and open minds can and will change the world.
About This Blog
Preparing ethical leaders for a just society. Posts by Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister.