July 12, 2019
For your prayer and reflection this week from Joan Chittister:
The Sufis tell a story of the Holy One who said to his disciples, “What’s better, do you think? Is it contemplation, or is it action?” . . . They said, “Why, Holy One, it’s action, of course. What good is contemplation in a suffering world?” And the Sufi said, “Ah, yes, but what good is action that proceeds from an unenlightened heart?”
The danger in the contemplative life is that it may become only one half of the spiritual life. . . . Contemplation is not for its own sake. . . . The contemplative life is not spiritual escapism.
Contemplation is immersion in the God who created this world for all of us. And the mystics of every major religion . . . remind us of that. Hinduism tells us that within the cave of the heart, God dwells, not just in the forest. And the Buddhists say, “Buddha is present in all places, in all beings, in all things, in all lands, not just in the monastery.” “Where can I go to flee from your presence?” the Jewish Psalmist says [Psalm 139:7]. “Whithersoever you turn, there is the face of God,” Islam teaches. And Christianity reminds us always: “Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible nature has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made” [Romans 1:20]. . . .
God is not contained in any one people, in any one kind of place, or in any one tradition. . . . God wills the end of oppressors who stand with the heel on the neck of the weak. . . . God wills the liberation . . . dignity and full development of all. . . . And, thus, therefore, must the true contemplative, otherwise that contemplation is not real. . . . The true contemplative, the truly spiritual person, then, must do justice, speak justice, insist on justice. . . .
Thomas Merton spoke out from a cloister in Kentucky against the Vietnam War. Catherine of Siena walked the streets of the city feeding the poor. . . . Hildegard of Bingen preached the word of justice to emperors and to popes. And so must we do whatever justice must be done in our own time if we’re going to claim to be serious about really sinking into the heart of God.
Reference: Joan Chittister, Prophets Then, Prophets Now, disc 1 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2006), MP3 download.
Friends, while Dawn and I were away in Milwaukee at General Synod, the National United Church of Christ delayed Synod business to walk to and demonstrate at the Milwaukee ICE office to protest detention centers and mistreatment of the people in them.
There is an opportunity today, July 12th to join with people across the nation in a candlelight vigil to call for an end to these camps. Also, tomorrow, Saturday July 13th, there will be a day of learning, listening and action. More info about Saturday is here. Saturday is an opportunity to learn about national and local issues facing immigrant communities, including the Safe Communities Act, Temporary Protected Status, "Driver's License Bills," and more. Discover how to contact your legislators, host phone-banking parties, and hold community events in your town.
Details for tonight are as follows:
On Friday July 12th, 2019, Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Detention Camps (www.lightsforliberty.org), will bring thousands of Americans to detention camps across the country, into the streets and into their own front yards, to protest the inhumane conditions faced by refugees.
If you live in the Boston area, join us outside the ICE Detention Center (on the campus of the Suffolk County House of Corrections, 20 Bradston Street, Boston, though we’ll be going to the Detention Center’s separate entrance) – or even in front of your own home – to hold a candle and share a moment of silence. There are vigils all over the state and the country. There will be Agape people at the Boston vigil, the Lexington vigil, and the Framingham vigil!
This is a completely volunteer-led effort. Invite your friends, and bring your own candle. Together we will light up the world (and social media – #lights4liberty#dontlookaway #endusconcentrationcamps) to demand an end to these concentration camps.
Our weekly Agape gems will be on hiatus for a couple weeks. Peace and much rest to you all,