I had two posts on my Facebook timeline when I got going the other day. The first an article about the disease of being busy (and the practice of having heart to heart connections with others rather than allowing yourself to be too busy in the brain). The other was a post from a friend wondering whether I’d help start a Buy Nothing Group in our neighborhoods. I would but I’m too busy. Just kidding.
Opening my heart to others even in small things like when asked how I’m doing might make my heart more available for the bigger things going on – like the redistribution group above, worshiping with my peeps on a Sunday, or when my middle schooler is wondering which Harry Potter character was snogging with Ginny Weasley. My own busyness could push me towards an exhaustion where I’d prefer to turn my brain off until things seem to settle down, or I become inactive enough that my friends “get it” – they should stop bothering me.
I feel for people – some of them my friends or relatives – who are feeling like during this cold rainy day on the eve of MLK Day that it would be more pleasant if we could hibernate until the racial stuff gets back to normal after this holiday and probably Black History Month. I have compassion for folks who aren’t feeling the #BlackLivesMatter stuff, the MLK D.A.R.E. march, or that we totally re-shaped our sunday meeting this week and next to make some serious space to connect with God and act for redemption. If you are feeling some ambivalence or avoidance and you’re a person of color it must be even worse. Many people in the US these past months are experience a profound confluence of efforts – and what I think is direction from the Holy Spirit around race & class justice & injustice.
Here are five suggestions if you might feel like you’d rather sit this one out.
Don’t hide away. You matter too much. Talk through your ambivalence with your cell or friends. At worst you’ll face your likely fear of being judged, but you might actually get understood or at best directed by God for your next steps.
Don’t wait to “feel it” before you try it. Sometimes our feelings need to catch up with our actions a la working out, reading non-fiction, praying, cleaning the bathroom, etc.
Let your sense of powerlessness face Real Power. Bringing up our sense of “this stuff is too big for me,” or “I’m not sure I really think MLK was that good,” or “what will marching actually do?” to God is a healthy spiritual activity. I suggest walking down closed off Broad St and Market st with possibly 10,000 others (many of whom are wondering the same things as you) will likely erode your sense of powerlessness.
Bring someone with you who understands your heart. Why come alone to the Circle of Hope meetings tonight or next week when they could be strange? I don’t think our normal is very normal, but you could risk something by talking about Jesus or even race with someone who might not be on your wavelength. Why not explain yourself and see if they want to try it out with you? You might find some comfort and strength for the challenges of the next week.
You might prefer to be like the sleeping bear right now, but God might awaken a fierce mother bear inside you. That would be so interesting, someone reading this is having a visceral reaction to the possibility. Why not put our attitudes on the line and let God deal with us? All we have to lose is the status quo. I guess the IWW, Marx, Assata Shakur, or a bunch of other fun people would also say all we’ve got to lose is our chains.
I have a feeling about this week. It’s not any other MLK Day I’ve experienced. Something profound is brewing. I want to be part of something great. Will you come and give it a try with me?
Tonight: Sacred Jazz musician Warren Cooper will leading most of our meetings at 5PM & 7PM getting us to consider “The Status of the Dream…Visioning Justice Peace.” We still have 2 open slots for our 24hr prayer vigil starting at midnight. Tomorrow we march (end to stop & frisk, $15 minimum wage in Phila, and a fully funded democratically run school district) and Imagine (looking at our final 2015 Circle of Hope Map). Next Sunday Warren returns to bookend the week with “Selections, Reflections, and Ejections.” For now let’s turn to Jesus and let the blues, jazz, and gospel guide our souls to that old Dream of Shalom.