April 15, 2011 @ 09:57 am by Jacqui Lewis
Friends, in the Christian tradition, Palm Sunday begins a very holy journey toward new life. It is a journey of remembrance of events that happened in ancient Palestine, when a Rabbi named Jesus rode into Jerusalem for the Holy days of Passover. He rode in on a borrowed donkey, and was greeted with palms and excitement from those who thought he was the much awaited Messiah. What also awaited him was a trial, torture and an execution, because many believed him to be a heretic, a rabble rouser and an enemy of the state.
I don’t think the historic Jesus was trying to create a new religion, but I do think he took exception with the religious and political authorities of his day. I think he was offering a radical re-visioning of culture and the praxis of a life of faith. I think he was crossing cultic and cultural boundaries– welcoming women, children and the disenfranchised into more power-full relationships with authority. And I think he held a deep critique of economic disparities present in the Roman Empire. This is why he addressed the issue of money so many times in his preaching and teaching.
Beginning April 30th through May 3rd, Middle Collegiate Church and The Middle Project will hold their fifth annual conference for leaders in multicultural/multiethnic congregations. This time we will focus on faith, justice and the economy. This conference may not feel as warm and fuzzy as some of our others, where we have celebrated the joy of worship in our congregations, highlighted the use of the arts, and encouraged leadership development and intercultural relationships in congregational life. But it is no less important; in fact this may be one of the most important conversations we can have as multicultural/multiethnic congregations in this moment in time. We understand that we can change our culture as we rehearse the reign of God in our congregations. We understand that race, class, ecological, economic, gender and sexual orientation justice are inextricably intertwined.
And so, yes, we will have an amazing worship celebration on May 1, with Jim Forbes preaching, stunning music, dance and powerful fellowship. And we will talk about how worship, education, community organizing and leadership development can help grow our congregations and have an impact on culture. But we will also be engaged from Saturday through Tuesday by an extremely gifted and multidisciplinary team of presenters from theology, sociology and organizing who will help us to examine, both theoretically and in practice, what faith communities should do and can do to follow in the footsteps of that Rabbi. We will think together about how to critique and improve the climate of economic justice in these United States, to make a small dent in the problems of empire, and to transform the hearts and minds of our congregants toward a more just society. Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere, we have been told.
A small band of folk got activated by the powerful message of Jesus, perhaps best “preached” on a mountainside, when before words were said, people were fed.
Come to this conference. Let’s talk about feeding the folk.
Learn. Do. Act. Heal the World.
Here are some resources for our journey toward a more economically just society:
The House of Representatives will vote Friday on a budget that would radically slash Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP/food stamps, slash funds that cover almost every other domestic human needs program, and wreck the promise of the new health care law. Click here to tell your US Rep to Oppose the House Budget Proposal.
Embrace the Darkness, Eric Law’s latest blog post.
About This Blog
Preparing ethical leaders for a just society. Posts by Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister.