Last weekend I was at Siena College near Albany for a regional gathering of friars of our province. We spent our time discussing different things, including an upcoming gathering of 400 friars from around the country in Denver in July, as six of the U.S. provinces continue in the process of merging into one province. Also, as part of our discussion, we talked about the issue of racism in our culture – our awareness of it, how ingrained it is, what it might be like to be a person of color and the effects of that in a person’s daily life. We see this in the news every day of course. Our discussion was grounded in the gospel story of Jesus who, throughout his years of ministry was continuously widening the boundaries of belonging, and who was continuously announcing a kingdom of God that was inclusive and welcoming to all people, especially those who were considered to be on the margins.
You may have seen or heard the announcement that our parish has organized a field trip to the International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro on Saturday, March 2. See page 8 for more details. The museum is on the site of the famous lunch counter sit-in in 1960, when four young black college students sat at a lunch encounter at a Woolworth’s and asked to be served. When they were refused service, they remained in their place and peacefully repeated their request, “I would like a cup of coffee, please.” Their protest was rooted in the nonviolence teaching of Martin Luther King Jr., who himself was rooted in his own reading of the gospel. This courageous action by these four students began the sit-in movement which eventually helped desegregate restaurants and other public places in the South and the movement was its own proclamation of the kingdom of God which Jesus preached, that all men (and women) are created equal and in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27). Our visit to the museum is a way for us to come close and learn more about this important part of our history, all in light of our Franciscan call to be men and women of peace and reconciliation.
A very fine book to recommend, “The Divine Dance” by Richard Rohr. Rohr is a Franciscan friar based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. His book is about the Trinity and about how we understand or do not understand Trinity. He writes that for most of us, we understand God as “substance” (based on Greek philosophy) and that “substance” implies a God who is distant, rules from on high, judges; a God who once created but who now exists far off somewhere on a distant throne. He writes that God is better understood as relationship, that Trinity implies a flowing out of, a relationality, an active and involved presence, a restless outflowing that is found not in some distant cloud-like heaven, but in our midst, in the everyday stuff of life, among us. Recommended, and…..
Blessings on your week!